By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
There was something ominous in the eyes of senior guard Mike Moore on Saturday night.
His team had been on its worst stretch in more than a year. With four straight losses, the Hofstra University men's basketball team was desperate for a win. The 0-7 Binghamton Bearcats was just what the doctor ordered, especially for Moore, as he lifted Hofstra to an 82-62 victory on Saturday night at the Mack Sports Complex.
"We actually called a team meeting, it was a players meeting" said Moore. "We just challenged each other and one thing that I could do better is playing with high intensity for 40 minutes."
In an offense that has struggled in its last two games, scoring 43 and 59 points respectively, Moore provided the hot hand, especially from behind the three-point line, shooting 7-11 from downtown. Moore tied Cornelius Vines' school record for most three-pointers in a game on his way to a career high 32 points while adding seven rebounds.
"My shots were just falling and my teammates were finding me," said Moore. "They kept going to me so it was good."
Playing a Binghamton side that was lacking size, Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara decided to roll out a small starting line-up including two senior point guards Stevie Mejia, who was returning from a hamstring injury and Dwan McMillan.
"I didn't want to tinker too much with what we're doing," said Cassara. "But at the same time I just wanted to give us a little bit of a quicker, maybe smaller line-up with a bit more defensive intensity."
McMillan also contributed with a career high 15 points as he provided aggressive drives to the basket flashing his skill and giving the Binghamton defense fits.
"I don't know [if it is my best game at Hofstra]," said McMillan. "It's been a while and I missed a lot [of games] last year but I'm just happy that we got the win."
Hofstra used an early 13-3 run to gain a nine point lead, one that proved to me more than enough for the Pride.
Binghamton would provide small runs to cut the gap, but the Hofstra offense was on form, allowing it to go into halftime with a 40-28 lead.
Moore had four three-pointers in the first half a part of 19 points in the opening 20 minutes.
With Hofstra's short bench, junior guard Matt Grogan received significant playing time for his third straight game, recording 16 minutes. The fan favorite hit two three-pointers, one in each half, sending the student section into a frenzy.
"Matty [Grogan] gave us a lift," said Cassara. "Every time he shoots the ball I think our whole bench is already standing up. Everybody wants him to get the ball in the basket and it's a credit to Matty."
With 13 points in the second, and three more three-pointers, Moore led the Hofstra charge in the second half that gave it a lead as large as 24 points. It is the seventh time in eleven games that he has scored 20 or more points. Now averaging 20.9 points per game, Moore is now 17th in the nation in scoring.
Hofstra improves to 4-7 on the season while Binghamton drops to 0-8.
"It felt good to get back on the winning side of things," said senior forward Nathaniel Lester, who recorded 10 points on 3-6 shooting. "Give credit to guys on the bench for keeping the energy up, staying positive. We had three good days of practice so give credit to the team for stepping up today."
"I'm obviously pleased with the outcome tonight," said Cassara. "I think sometimes when you're not winning, and the ball's not going in the basket, it's easy to get down. I think a lot of credit has to go to our staff. You work a lot harder when you're losing than when you're winning."
The Pride is next in action on Thursday night at 7 p.m. when it hosts Colgate.