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Men’s basketball drops season opener at Monmouth

By Angelo Brussich (Sports Editor)

The Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team is in a state of transition as it starts the 2012-13 season.

Although there were some positives in its first game of the year against the Monmouth University Hawks at the Multipurpose Activity Center in West Long Branch, NJ. The Pride dropped the game 91-62.

“Doesn’t matter what time of year it is, losing’s tough,” said Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara. “Obviously not the start we wanted, we’ve got a lot of work to do, we’ve got a lot of new pieces and we’ve got to get better.”

It was a tough opening half for Hofstra, as the team did not seem to have a rhythm to its game. The Pride shot just 35.5 percent from the field and had 13 turnovers.

The Hawks (0-1) were able to take advantage of Hofstra’s (1-0) early struggles and were able to put up 50 points heading into the first half.

“We can’t give up 50 points in the first half and beat anybody,” said Cassara. “We’ve been working on doing some things differently defensively, and we just didn’t have it tonight.”

Hofstra had four players to score in double figures with senior guard Stevie Mejia and sophomore guard Shaquille Stokes leading the way for the Pride with 12 points apiece.

For Stokes it was nice to finally don the Hofstra colors in a live game.

“It feels great putting on this uniform,” said Stokes. “I was a little nervous in the beginning, but as the game went on I got more comfortable.”

Hofstra repeatedly tried to mount comebacks throughout the game, as it found itself behind 15-3 early in the contest but was not able to fully get its rhythm going against Monmouth.

A 14-4 run helped the Pride cut the lead to 19-17, but that would be as close as Hofstra would come, as the Hawks mounted a 9-0 run and never looked back, mounting a 50-31 point lead going into the half.

“I thought every time we made a run, and started to play a little better and get our feet underneath us, we’d make mistakes,” said Cassara. “They made us pay for it every time we made a mistake.”

Unfortunately for the Pride its shooting woes and turnovers continued to mount up in the second half. Hofstra shot 23.5 percent and added 10 more turnovers to push its total for the game to 23.

“You can just wipe out all these other things (stats) and the way we shot we weren’t going to win.” said Cassara.

Hofstra was able to cut the deficit to 13 coming out of the half, but it had dug itself a hole to deep to come back from, eventually falling by 29 points.


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