By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
In what Hofstra men's basketball head coach Mo Cassara thought would be a trap game, the Pride emerged victorious over conference rival Northeastern, 76-67 to keep atop the CAA and improve to 10-5 overall on the season.
Hofstra came out of the gates quickly, shooting well from the field. Senior center Greg Washington started hot as usual and junior guard Mike Moore splashed a three in the first two minutes as the Pride jumped out to an early 9-4 lead.
The Pride zone defense was looking a bit sluggish, allowing Northeastern to get some open looks. However the Huskies had some difficulty hitting their shots, resulting in some big battles under the boards in which Washington and sophomore David Imes were busy early.
After a delay due to shot clock problems, Hofstra shooting went cold from the field.
After a few fouls sent Northeastern to the line, the Huskies were able to get right back into the game and take a one point lead at 12-11 with 14:30 left in the first half.
An 8-3 Hofstra run put the Pride back up, but Northeastern was still moving the ball well and were heating up from three-point range, hitting three consecutive shots from downtown to tie the game at 21.
Northeastern hung tough in the first half as teams traded baskets with the half winding down.
Mike Moore had the hot hand from beyond the arc, going four of five from three-point range for the game. One from Moore and two from senior guard Charles Jenkins in the last two minutes of the first half, and Hofstra was up 37-31 going into the locker room. Once again Jenkins, the NCAA's fourth leading scorer, had a quiet first half, with Washington and Moore leading the way on the score sheet.
Hofstra came out in the second half trying to pound the ball under the basket, successfully finding the likes of Imes and Washington down low for easy field goals.
Moore and Jenkins went back to back again from three-point land as Hofstra extended its lead to 10 points at 46-36 with 16 minutes left in the second half.
Northeastern was able to cut the deficit, picking apart the less than impressive Hofstra zone defense and slowly making their way back into the game. With ten minutes left in the game, the Hofstra lead was now 53-47.
Both teams kept trading baskets as Northeastern refused to go away quietly, doing everything they can to cause an upset. The fact that the Pride was in the penalty within the last ten minutes of the game wouldn't help either, as every foul sent the Huskies to the free throw line.
Hofstra could not quite pull away as Northeastern would not go down without a fight, with the lead fluctuating between ten and six points, the longer the Huskies stuck around, the more dangerous it would be for Hofstra.
But it was Jenkins, like he has done for the entire season, who took over and tried to finish off the Huskies. Hofstra was able to grab a twelve point lead, its largest of the game, with 3:10 left in the half, but Northeastern junior guard Chaisson Allen sunk a three to try and spark another comeback.
Northeastern was once again within seven with less than two minutes remaining, but after a missed jumper by Washington, a huge rebound by Imes all but iced the game with under a minute left as the Pride was able to ice the game at the line at the free throw line.
Jenkins led the Pride with 20 points, Moore added 16 and Washington had 14 of his own to stay undefeated in conference play at 4-0. The Pride is next in action on January 12 when they travel to Maryland to take on Towson University.