By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
Just hours after the women's squad took down Hartford, the Hofstra University men's basketball team ground out a win of its own, defeating Holy Cross 71-56 for its second straight victory.
The Pride dictated the tempo from the opening tip as the defensive pressure gave Holy Cross an awfully difficult time finding open looks.
"I think we did a great job [controlling the tempo]," said senior guard Charles Jenkins. "They [Holy Cross] switched defense to try to speed us up and I think we were very poised and stayed together."
With six minutes gone however, Hofstra held a slim 8-6 lead as the Pride offense could not find its touch with Jenkins playing generously, trying to get his teammates involved early.
Freshman guard Shemiye McLendon hit three consecutive three-pointers as a part of a 16-0 run that put the Pride up 24-10 with seven minutes left in the first half. Jenkins did not get his first points until the 7:15 mark as different players began making the Hofstra score sheet.
"It's important and that's part of the reason that we're finding ways to win games," said head coach Mo Cassara. "Shemiye really in the first half we went through a little bit of a dead period there and he comes in there and hits a couple of big threes and gave us a great lift."
The Pride simply outworked the Crusaders in the first half, beating them to loose balls, winning the battle on the glass and denying Holy Cross open looks.
At half time, the Pride led 34-22. McLendon led the Pride with nine points and Jenkins was held to only five.
"One thing about Charles is that he continues to share the ball," said Cassara. "He only shot the ball once or twice in the first half but he passed up a bunch of shots, he threw the ball ahead in transition, he got some other guys some looks and that's what makes Charles a great player and even better teammate."
Teams traded baskets to start the second half as the game kept its physicality from the first. Ball possession was not at its finest however, with both teams not making the smartest plays while on offense.
Whatever flow this game had in the second was being cut short by the referees whistle. Nine fouls were called within the first five minutes.
Holy Cross began making its way back into the game, cutting the Hofstra advantage to six at 43-37 with 13:52 remaining in the game.
The defensive battle continued as both offenses were unable to function well. Sophomore forward David Imes hotly contested lay up and a three-pointer from Moore opened the Hofstra lead to 50-41 with 10 minutes remaining.
Two more three-pointers from Moore, defensive brilliance from senior guard Brad Kelleher, and some impressive defense capped off a 21-5 run for the Pride, opening its lead to 64-48.
Senior center Greg Washington fouled out with 4:21 left in the game, yet another night he has been in trouble with the refs.
The Pride was able to extend its lead to 15 without Charles Jenkins as the force that he always is with the senior putting up 13 points.
The referees did everything they could to prolong this game, but nothing was denying the Pride of its second consecutive win. Moore led the team with 15 points and Imes added 10 of his own.
"The thing I'm most pleased with is again holding a team under 60 points," said Cassara. "So our defense continues to keep us in games. If we continue to play that way we're going to have some success heading into the New Year."
Holy Cross drops to 1-9 and Hofstra improves to 7-4. The Pride is next in action on December 29 when they travel to Iona.