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Day after arrests, Hofstra schooled by Hall of Fame lead SMU

By Angelo Brussich (Sports Editor) Not often can a legendary coach be overshadowed by matters beyond the game. But that was what happened when the Hofstra men’s basketball team took on Southern Methodist University on Saturday. SMU coach Larry Brown was to be the draw for this game; instead the game became second string to the other controversy brewing. Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara had not spoken with the media since the news broke of the arrest of four Hofstra players on burglary charges Friday afternoon, and it was announced that he would speak during the postgame conference. “I will tell you our guys are resilient, my staff is resilient, and most importantly I’m resilient and we’re just going to keep working as hard as we can,” said Cassara. Two Hofstra starters, sophomore guard Shaquille Stokes and freshman forward Jimmy Hall, and two bench players, freshman guard Dallas Anglin and guard Kentrell Washington, have been brought up on charges of burglary. “We’re not where we’d like to be right now,” said Cassara, “but we’ve got some good pieces and we’re just going to keep building on it.” But a game had to be played before that could happen, and SMU (8-1) was able to pull away with a big win over the Pride (3-5) 73-47 at the Mack Center. The Pride looked out of sorts offensively, missing seemingly makeable layups early on and never finding a groove throughout the game. Hofstra shot just 25.9 percent from the field on 15-58 shooting. Hofstra needed a big start to the game to try and put the craziness of the past 48 hours behind them, but it was not to be. Instead the Pride was unable to get any points through the first five minutes of the game. “Our guys came firing out of the locker room and they were ready. That’s one of those games you just make that first basket, it’s like all the pressure comes off and you feel so much better about everything,” said Cassara. “Right now that’s what we need. We need one of those games where the ball goes in the basket, and I think it’s going to help us a lot.” Falling behind 10-0 to the Mustangs, Hofstra pulled to within six when it scored the next two baskets. That would be as close as the Pride would get, as continued poor shooting helped SMU pull away. Although it shot just 21.9 percent from the field, Hofstra went into the half trailing by only 12, with the score 31-19. Sophomore guard Taran Buie was thrust into the starting lineup after the player suspensions, and added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists. The Pride was lead in points by senior guard Stevie Mejia who had 11 points and three assists. The second half opened with a big dunk by freshman forward Jordan Allen, pulling the Pride within 10, but SMU halted any effort of a comeback. Hofstra senior walk on guard Matt Grogan saw action in the game, going 2-3 from beyond the three point line, scoring seven points for the game. “Who doesn’t love Matt Grogan, right?” said Cassara. “How can you not love Matt Grogan? Every time he shoots the ball everyone wants it to go in. I mean, I think even the opposing team wants it to go in. We love Matt Grogan; he’s fought through and been here through every step.” The Mustangs continued to pull away, pushing its lead to 20 and then 30 before finally defeating Hofstra by 26. “Obviously the ball didn’t go into the hoop as much as we would’ve liked to for us tonight,” said Cassara. “But it’s been a difficult few days, and those guys have been very resilient, they went out there and they gave it their all today.”

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