By Max Sass, Sports Editor
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – The Hofstra men's basketball team jumped out to an early lead against Rider and held on for a 58-48 victory. The Pride defeated a Rider team that was 4-2 entering the game including a victory over Southern California.
The two teams were tied at 4-4 before Hofstra pulled away. The Pride went on a 20-4 run to take a 24-8 lead. Five different players scored for the Pride during the run.
"When they started missing some shots and they started getting tight we were able to get out and get some easy baskets and get some easy shots in transition and ultimately I credit our defense," Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara said.
Rider would rally with its own 9-4 run to pull the score to 28-17 in Hofstra's favor with one minute to play in the half. Rider senior guard Justin Robinson drained a three-pointer at the 45-second mark to cut the deficit to single digits at 28-20.
Junior guard Charles Jenkins followed up a poor first half performance against Wagner (2 points, no field goals) with another less than stellar first half, shooting 2-9 and scoring just five points. Jenkins scored 14 points in the second half to finish with 19, which led all scorers.
"I think I just calmed down a little," Jenkins said of the difference in halves. "I don't know what's wrong with me. When I'm in the hotel it takes a long time for the game to start so the first half I come out overexcited trying to make too many plays."
Rider would chip away at the deficit little by little early in the second half. Robinson hit a three-pointer to cut the Hofstra lead to 30-25, but a Jenkins three-pointer on the next possession pushed the lead back to eight.
Senior forward Greg Washington hit a turnaround jump shot to give Hofstra a 37-29 lead but Rider followed with a 10-2 run to tie the game at 39-39.
Hofstra would jump back in front 47-39, keyed by three-pointers by Jenkins and freshman guard Shemiye McLendon.
McLendon would hit another three-pointer to give the Pride a 50-41 lead, which would be pushed to 52-41 on a slam by Washington.
"We subbed Shemiye in because he's a guy who can make some shots and ultimately I looked like a smart coach tonight," Cassara said.
Rider brought a full court press with less than one minute to play with Hofstra leading 54-46. The Pride did not turn the ball over and four free throws from Jenkins sealed the game at 58-48.
Junior guard Mike Moore finished with just four points but led the Pride with 10 rebounds. Junior point guard Dwan McMillan was the second high scorer for the Pride with 10 points.
The Pride moves to 3-3 on the season and will next face Towson, a Colonial Athletic Association opponent, at Hofstra on Saturday, Dec. 4.