By: Joe Pantorno (Editor-in-Chief) While you have been home, re-charging your batteries for the upcoming semester, Hofstra men’s basketball has been hard at work, trying to salvage a season that has pointed to it all being lost rather quickly and rather disastrously.
Coming into today’s game against UNC-Wilmington, the Pride sits at 5-14 (2-4 CAA), currently on a three-game losing streak and having lost 12 of its last 14.
Its most recent defeat came at the hands of Drexel on Wednesday night after Frantz Massenat drained a 50 foot buzzer-beating heave from beyond half court to send the Hofstra to a 55-52 loss. The miraculous shot by the Drexel guard came just seconds after
sophomore guard Taran Buie hit a game-tying three pointer with 5.9 seconds left.
Buie, who tied a career high against the Dragons with 29 points, has become a talisman that, at times, has had to carry the Hofstra offense almost single-handedly. In his first season playing with the Pride, the Penn State transfer is averaging 20 points per game in CAA play, 15.2 overall this season. While he has wowed the Hofstra crowd with his versatility, it is important that Buie finds a sidekick offensively to get Hofstra rolling.
There have been glimpses of some help. Senior guard Stevie Mejia is averaging 10.6 points per game and before an eight point outing on Wednesday, had scored in the double figures for five of the previous six games including 17 against Georgia State on January 7. While it is impressive that Mejia is showing the consistency of scoring, providing aggressive drives to the basket he can only do so much, especially down low.
Another senior leader, forward David Imes has been given the label over the past two seasons that he is supposed to provide offensive prowess. While he scored 19 points against Northeastern on January 16, Imes has only scored 10 or more points three times this season. He has spent a considerable amount of time beyond the perimeter on offense. His shot might be improving, but he is considerably more of a threat down low, providing help for the other big men like Stephen Nwaukoni, Jordan Allen and Moussa Kone.
Let’s shed the label of the marquee scorer expectation for Imes. He is a role player and a very important one for that matter. He is a player that will give you 10 points and eight boards a night if given the necessary help and distribution. And that is exactly what Hofstra needs.
The defense has been solid since its New Year’s Day match-up at Florida Atlantic, holding teams to less than 70 points for seven games. While 70 might seem like a high number in college, this is a Hofstra team that has allowed 100, 91, 88 and 83 points this season. To see the Pride bearing down, especially getting into the heart of the conference slate is very promising.
If Hofstra can spread its offensive output and find one or two more options alongside Buie and the defense continues to play the way it has been in 2013, the better the chances Hofstra has of making an improbable run in Richmond.