By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
The Hofstra University men's basketball team made it two straight wins with a decisive 82-59 victory over Colgate before entering its final out of conference match-up against Iona next week.
"Certainly pleased with our outcome but I am mostly pleased with our effort in the second half," said head coach Mo Cassara. "Our defensive intensity really picked up. A lot of credit to the whole team; we started to share the ball."
It was senior guard Mike Moore who again led the Pride with 24 points, 19 in the first half, five rebounds and two steals. The effort puts him at 21.2 points per game, good for thirteenth in the nation in scoring.
"I feel good out there on the court," said Moore. "The last couple weeks I've been in the gym getting a couple extra shots up. My teammates are finding me so I'm going to keep trying to hit my shots."
Senior guard Dwan McMillan recorded his second straight double-digit scoring effort with 13 points along with 10 assists for a double-double. McMillan has done well filling in for the injured Stevie Mejia, whose hamstring injury has him out indefinitely.
"I'm incredibly pleased," said Cassara of McMillan's play. "He's been doing a tremendous job, his message has been great every day and he's instilled a lot of confidence not only in myself but in the team."
A closely contested first half was blown open in the second as Hofstra's defense began creating turnovers galore along with the wealth being passed around scoring-wise as a late 14-3 run by Hofstra put the game out of sight.
"When we got a few easy baskets, the game opened up a lot and they couldn't just key in on Mike [Moore]," said Cassara. "We just become a tougher team to beat."
The defense created 18 turnovers and stole the ball 13 times, frustrating the Colgate offense.
"I thought we did a really good job tonight and I thought our energy and effort was terrific," said Cassara. "Especially in the second half."
Hofstra had five players in double digits including sophomore guard Shemiye McLendon who scored 15 of his career high 17 points in the second half and junior forward David Imes, whose 10 point effort was much needed after two games of going scoreless.
"In the locker room and in the huddle coach was just telling me to keep my head up," said McLendon. "Mike's [Moore] been telling me the past couple of weeks to be more aggressive and score more. That's what I came out and did."
"He [Imes] was really active on the glass," said Cassara of his junior forward. "I have to give Dave a lot of credit. He's been practicing well, his energy has been great. We really need Dave to get us those 10 points to help us win some games."
Due to injury of Mejia, freshman forward Jereme Good and the departing of junior forward Bryant Crowder, who left the school due to personal reasons, Hofstra had a bench of only eight dressed players, but everyone stepped up.
Sophomore forward Stephen Nwaukoni, who made his first career start, grabbed eight rebounds leading Hofstra on the boards despite being undersized against a larger Colgate team.
"Stephen started tonight which was a new opportunity for him," said Cassara. "He did some good things and he will continue to battle for us and give us energy."
Hofstra improves to 5-7 on the season and is at home on the 29th against a high powered Iona team, but for now, the win is more than enough for Cassara entering the holidays.
"It lets us go home," said Cassara. "Certainly makes for a much better Christmas vacation."