By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
Senior guard Charles Jenkins scored 18 of his game high 28 points in the second half of the Hofstra University men's basketball team's 79-68 victory over Georgia State on Wednesday night.
A decent transition game and some sloppy Georgia State play had Hofstra leading 13-4 in the first five minutes. Some great defense forced Panther turnovers that led to Hofstra finding some easy shots.
"We did a great job attacking," said Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara. "Our transition game helped us generate some easy baskets and open looks."
Hofstra's sharp shooters were able to heat up early with Jenkins, senior guard Brad Kelleher and junior Mike Moore all hitting three-pointers in the game's first ten minutes as the lead grew to 19-6.
Just when the game seemed like it was about to be blown open, Georgia State started crawling back into the game with the score at 21-13 and 7:52 left in the first half.
The Panthers, however, did not have an answer to Hofstra's offense, which was clicking on all cylinders and after two consecutive three's from sophomore guard Yves Jules, led 33-26 with 1:59 remaining.
Though the smaller Hofstra side was getting beaten on the boards, the Pride defense was able to eliminate second chances on offensive boards despite being outrebounded 37-27 for the game. The tough play under the boards was a credit to senior center Greg Washington staying out of foul trouble and remaining a big force under the baskets.
"When he [Washington] is able to stay on the floor, we'll be a tough team to beat," said Cassara.
The Pride finished the half on a 5-0 run to take a 38-26 lead going into halftime. Jenkins led all scorers with 10 points at the break and Moore had eight.
Hofstra's offense did not slow down to start the second half as Jenkins and Moore continued to cause Georgia State's defense problems as the lead grew to 51-36 with four minutes gone in the second half.
Jenkins caught fire, sinking two consecutive jumpers, scoring 10 points in the first six minutes of the second half as the Hofstra lead grew to 56-38.
Georgia State tried to stay in the game, but some great Hofstra defense and turnovers doomed any hopes of a comeback. The fact that Jenkins was simply unstoppable also did not make things any easier for the Panthers.
"It was a typical Charles Jenkins night and he just put the team on his back," said Cassara.
The senior star helped Hofstra maintain a healthy advantage, up 64-49 with 8:54 left in the game. The Panthers moved into a full court press to try and cut the deficit and momentarily found some success, going on a 10-2 run and cutting the lead to 67-59 with less than six minutes remaining.
Georgia State continued to press and kept threatening the Hofstra lead with the Pride leading 72-64, but turnovers kept plaguing the Panthers and stalling the comeback in the last four minutes.
Hofstra needed to hang on to the Panthers' all out attack in the last minutes of the game, but the defense stayed strong and important free throws were made to reopen the lead and ice the game.
The Pride improves to 16-9 overall and 10-4 in CAA play. Hofstra is back in action when it travels to Delaware to take on the Blue Hens on Saturday.