By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
In front of a sold out crowd packing the Mack Sports Complex, the Hofstra University men's basketball team dropped its second consecutive game, 65-60 against Drexel University. The highlight of the night was senior guard Charles Jenkins passing former guard Antoine Agudio for the Pride's all-time scoring record.
Junior guard Mike Moore led Hofstra with five early points as the Pride flew out to a 9-4 lead with four minutes gone in the opening frame.
The shooting cooled off quickly after the under 16 timeout as Drexel came right back into the game, going on a 13-4 run. Like it has been all season though, the Pride turned to its leading scorer to settle things down. With four early points, Jenkins was just twelve off the record, but the Pride trailed 14-11 with 11:21 left in the first half.
The teams traded baskets after the Drexel run. Jenkins had eight of the Pride's 15 points as the senior was not getting much help from his teammates as Hofstra continued to trail in the first half. Hofstra was losing the battles under the boards as the Dragons started taking advantage of second chance opportunities opening up a 26-20 lead with 6:30 remaining.
Hofstra play became sloppy in the last five minutes of the half as the ball was not being moved well and shot selection was subpar. Drexel continued to pick the defense apart and dominate the offensive boards, opening up a 10 point lead at 32-22.
"They really dominated the glass tonight and that's what ultimately led to them getting a good lead and outplaying us on the offensive glass," said Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara.
Moore heated up from the field, scoring eight consecutive points, as Hofstra began mounting a comeback and bringing the fans in the Mack back to life. The Hofstra run made things closer as teams went into the break, with the Pride trailing 35-30. Moore had 16 and Jenkins dropped 10, just six points away from breaking the record. Besides Moore and Jenkins, only two other Hofstra players made the score sheet, each with two.
"We just spread out plays, ran a couple plays and I got open," said Moore.
It was more of the same in the second half with Hofstra unable to collect rebounds that would end some Drexel offensive possessions. The Pride defense began to stifle things on defense, making second chance points less easy for Drexel.
Hofstra began fighting its way back into the game, but Drexel continued to wreak havoc down low and held a 47-39 advantage with 12:30 left in the game.
With all the attention from both the fans and Drexel on Jenkins, Moore was putting together a great game, becoming the go to guy when number 22 was covered.
A jumper from Jenkins with 10:40 left in the game put him one point away from tying the record and brought the game within four points.
With 10:15 left in the game, Jenkins was sent to the line to break Hofstra's all-time leading scoring record and coolly finished both for his fifteenth and sixteenth points of the game, passing Agudio with 2,277 points and cutting Hofstra's deficit to 47-45.
"It really doesn't mean much to me," said Jenkins. "If I had 14 points and we won I'd be the happiest kid in the gym."
Drexel came right back and began picking apart the Hofstra defense once again, opening up a 53-45 lead with 7:38 left.
The Dragons' success continued down low as Hofstra continued to be out muscled by Drexel, who held a 59-50 lead with 4:30 left in the game.
"I just think they were just really aggressive," said Cassara. "They used their size."
The Pride ignited with four minutes left, going on a 6-0 run and bringing the score back to 59-56 with 2:58 left as Jenkins was doing it all on both offense and defense, creating steals, grabbing rebounds, creating fast breaks and feeding his teammates for open looks from the field.
A set of Jenkins free throws brought the game to 59-58 with 2:07 left. Another easy lay in put Drexel back up by three with a minute and a half left.
A missed three-pointer by Moore was followed up and in by junior forward David Imes with 1:10 left as the Mack began to shake and get loud with anticipation of the last minute of play.
After Drexel turned the ball over with a travelling violation, Hofstra gave the ball right back with 39.5 seconds left as Drexel looked to ice the game.
Hofstra began fouling and sent Drexel to the line with 27.3 seconds and with two made shots, Drexel took a 63-60 lead as the crowd beckoned for another Hofstra comeback.
Moore missed a three-pointer short from the corner which was rebounded by freshman forward Dartaye Ruffin and immediately fouled. He went to the line and sank both as Hofstra could not complete the comeback.
Drexel outrebounded Hofstra 47-24 for the game and 20-5 on the offensive boards. Jenkins finished with 19 points and Moore added 20 as Hofstra drops to 8-3 in conference play and 14-8 overall. The Pride is next in action on Wednesday at George Mason.