By Steven Wolff - STAFF WRITER
The Hofstra men’s basketball team looks for redemption, after their one point, double-overtime defeat last season against William & Mary in the CAA semifinals. Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich’s Pride has gotten off to a quick start this season at 6-2. He recently recorded his 300th career win last Wednesday, in an 84-80 win against his alma mater, La Salle.
On the season, the Pride has four players averaging in double figures. Junior guard Brian Bernardi has been an efficient scorer, averaging 15 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field and about 90 percent from the free-throw line. Senior point guard Juan’ya Green is leading the Pride in scoring on the season with 18 per game, but has also done a fine job of distributing the ball to his teammates, racking up seven assists per game. Green has scored in every game thus far. However, like last season, he can do a better job of improving his efficiency, shooting 40 percent from the field. Senior guard Ameen Tanksley has scored 16 points per game and has given the Pride another outside shooting force, making it a little easier on Green.
Bouncing back from an injury he suffered last year, Denton Koon, a 6-foot-8-inch forward, has given the Pride a positive impact in the early onset. He is providing them with another scoring option averaging 11.5 points per game. Koon has also given the Pride an extra body under the basket, grabbing almost seven boards per game. Overall, the early offensive onslaught is contagious as Hofstra is regularly scoring 85 points per game, compared to last year where they averaged only 78.
With the loss of last year’s center Moussa Kone, the team has benefited from Rokas Gustys and Malik Nichols. Gustys is averaging nine points and nine boards, while Nichols is coming off the bench and giving them seven points and seven boards. If the Pride is going to continue to be a dominant team and have a chance to win the CAA title, the two will have to continue playing at this high level and Gustys will need to improve his free-throw shooting late in games.
It is essential for Hofstra to get off to quicker starts in games. On the season they have only scored about 300 points in the first half, while scoring 384 points in the second half. They are finishing off games strongly but the second half would be more manageable if they weren’t often trailing early.
If the Pride can maintain their overall strong play going into CAA contests, they will have a better chance to avenge last year’s loss and win the Colonial