By Jerome Bailey, Staff Writer
The Hofstra Pride scraped and clawed its way to a 44-39 victory against the Jaspers of Manhattan Wednesday night. The game featured poor shooting by both teams and 29 combined turnovers. It was the 58th meeting between the Pride (6-3) and the Jaspers (5-4) in the local rivalry.
"That was a rock fight, wasn't it?" Hofstra Head Coach Tom Pecora said. "They played harder than us in long stretches and luckily for us, our talent won the game. We have to play better."
The Pride led by five points with less than two minutes to play when junior forward Greg Washington threw down a vicious slam on an inbounds play. The dunk awoke the crowd of 3,076 at the Mack Sports Complex. The crowd was cheering and screaming as the dunk sealed another Pride victory.
Despite the dunk, Washington and his fellow big man, senior Miklos Szabo played only a combined 22 minutes. The duo faced early foul trouble but still managed to pull down a combined seven rebounds.
"They both committed silly fouls and played with a lack of discipline. We need them to play better," Pecora said regarding Szabo and Washington's play.
A bright spot for the Pride was the key production from the freshman core. The first year group of Chaz Williams, David Imes, Halil Kanacevic, and Yves Jules combined to spark the Pride off the bench. Kanacevic had his second straight double-digit output and led the team with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Pride was unable to capitalize on the Jasper's poor shooting. The team committed 14 turnovers, giving the Jaspers hope in the game.
"I am disappointed. Even though they shot 21% from the floor, we kept them in the game by silly turnovers. We played cool, not hard," said Pecora.
The Pride never trailed after the first 3:56 minutes of play. They then jumped out to a 19-5 lead as fans hoped for a blow out. Hofstra committed 19 turnovers and 20 personal fouls, allowing the Jaspers to trim the deficit. At the half the led stood at 23-18. The Pride's largest lead during the game was 14 points.
Junior guard and CAA Player of the Week Charles Jenkins came into the game averaging 20.3 points a game. Jenkins had nine points on 3 for 14 shooting from the field with four assists and four steals.
Entering conference play Pecora and the Pride hope the underclassmen will step up and play with a veteran mindset.
"Our veteran players have to impose their will on our younger players. We have to play like a veteran team," said Pecora.
The Pride look to extend its winning streak to four games this Saturday when it takes on the New Hampshire Wildcats at the Mack Arena. The Pride lead the all-time series 13-6. The Pride won its last game 62-57 against the Wildcats in 2001. Following, the Wildcats, the Pride will travel to St. Johns on December 20th for the Aeropostale Holiday Festival.