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Pride drop conference matchup to first place Northeastern

By Max Sass, Assistant Sports Editor

Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" has nothing on the Hofstra men's basketball team's tale of two halves. The Pride led Colonial Athletic Association top dog Northeastern 32-30 at half time before being blown out of their own gym in the second half and finally falling 75-55. "I think they showed why they have won 13 of their last 14," said head coach Tom Pecora.

The Pride, riding a three game conference win streak, came out hot, jumping out to an immediate 15-2 advantage. Northeastern roared back though and went on a 16-0 run to give the Huskies the lead at 18-15.

The two teams remained relatively even throughout the first half with the Pride ending up with just a slight two-point lead, despite out-rebounding Northeastern 30-12. "I knew [Northeastern head coach] Billy [Coen] would get on them about the rebounding advantage we had," said Pecora, "and they would come out fired up."

Northeastern was, as Pecora said, fired up. Offensively and defensively the Huskies were clicking on all cylinders, especially star senior guard Matt Janning. "He came out and he really dominated the game the first 10 minutes of the second half," said Pecora.

Northeastern went on a quick 12-1 run to start the second half that would be extended to a 20-3 run soon after. The Pride did not score their first field goal of the second half until the 9:48 mark.

One of Hofstra's go to offensive players, freshman guard Chaz Williams, did not record a point through the first 35 minutes and 49 seconds of the game. Williams finished with just 7 points, all scored after Hofstra trailed by 16 already.

"We came out sloppy," said Pecora. "When you have 19 turnovers you are not going to beat the elite teams." It did not help either that junior guard Charles Jenkins only scored 14 points on 3 of 11 shooting from the field. "Against the best teams," said Pecora, "he has got to rise to the occasion and make plays."

Hofstra's front line did not do much to help the Pride offensively either (despite the productive rebounding). Junior forward Greg Washington finished with 10 rebounds, but only 5 points on the night, all scored in the first half. "I really expected to get a big second half out of him," said Pecora, "and it didn't happen." The three big guys for the Pride (Washington, senior Miklos Szabo and freshman Halil Kanacevic) combined for 8 turnovers in the game.

"They were definitely the more physical team," said Pecora. Northeastern was also the deeper team, getting 20 points from their bench compared to just the 8 Hofstra got (6 by Kanacevic, 2 by freshman guard Yves Jules).

Hofstra's guard play was poor at best. The trio of Jenkins, Williams and senior Cornelius Vines shot a combined 9 for 34 from the field, an underwhelming 26 percent.

The Pride look to redeem themselves and stay relevant within the conference, when they host Drexel Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Mack Sports Complex.

Hofstra senior guard Cornelius Vines drives to the basket against Northeastern's Vinny Lima. Hofstra fell to Northeastern 75-55 at the Mack Arena on February 6,2010 in Hempstead, NY. (Sean M. Gates/ The Chronicle)

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