By Jerome Bailey, Staff Reporter
Led by Charles Jenkins career-high 38 points, on 12 for 17 shooting, and 9 for 9 from the free throw line, the Pride (4-3) defeated the Fairfield Stags 84-80. Jenkins also connected on five three-pointers. It was one of his best performances. Jenkins's 38 points were the most for a Hofstra player, since former NBA player Speedy Claxton.
"Good things happen when the ball is in Charles's hands. He is an amazing player," said Pecora.
Junior Nathaniel Lester and Jenkins carried the Pride to victory in the second half. During the game, they combined for 56 out of the Pride's 84 points. Both made crucial plays in the closing minutes of the game, to seal the win for the Pride.
"We were playing cool, not hard. So, at halftime I went bonkers, because they were playing harder than us, and out hustling us. And, Nate and Charles responded in the second half," said Pride Head Coach Tom Pecora.
Leading 77-75, with two minutes to go, the Pride needed a score to finish of the Stags (4-2). The 2,146 fans at the Mack Sports Complex were nearly full of yellow shirts and screaming "GO PRIDE." Everyone in the building knew the ball was going to Jenkins. Freshman guard Chaz Williams was dribbling, and lost control of the ball, and fell to the ground. However, he scrapped and fought for the ball, then somehow managed to pass it to a wide-open Jenkins.
Jenkins capitalized and nailed a dagger three-pointer from the center of the court to increase the Pride's lead to 82-77. After the shot, Jenkins turned around, pumping his fist at the crowd and saying "LET'S GO".
"We wanted to win, and as a leader I wanted to be as aggressive as I could," said Jenkins .Following Jenkins's heroics, the Stags reclaimed possession, and guard freshman guard Derek Needham nailed a corner three to trim the led to 82-80. The Pride turned the ball over, and the Stags now had hope again. However, Lester had other ideas as he blocked two three point attempts by the Stags, and sealed the deal.
Another bright spot for the Pride was solid production from three freshmen: guard Williams, David Imes and Yves Jules. They all played crucial minutes and made key plays throughout the game. Williams led the freshman core with six points and four assists. Despite being freshman, they all have been seeing many minutes thus far in the season.
"Right now the seniors are not getting it done. Thank God we have younger guys," said Pecora.
One of the problems for the Pride was that they were outrebounded for the second straight game. The Stags pulled down 38 boards, as opposed to the Pride's 29. The Pride big men combined for six rebounds.
For the Stags, center Anthony Johnson had a career night, posting 22 points and 12 rebounds. In addition, Needham had 26 points and six assists. Junior Yorel Hawkins tallied 22 points and five boards.
The Pride looks to continue their winning ways on Saturday against the Towson Tigers. The matchup is the Pride's first CAA game this year. The Pride led the all-time series record between the teams, 31-19. In the last meeting, the Pride squeaked out a 71-68 victory against the Tigers. After the Towson matchup, the Pride return home to face the Manhattan Jaspers.