The Hofstra men’s basketball team looks to make it two in a row on Tuesday as they travel to Sacred Heart for their annual matchup with the Pioneers.
The Pride opened its regular season at home last Friday, winning 74-72 against Coppin State University. Without question, the most impressive part of the win was freshman guard Eli Pemberton.
In his first game in a Hofstra uniform, Pemberton dropped a team high of 20 points, 13 of them coming in the second half. His game was good enough to earn him Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Rookie of the Week.
Pemberton’s role as a freshman has been a big question heading into the season, but he showed he is going to be a big part in the offense with his opening night performance.
The two teams faced off last season, with Hofstra coming away with an 80-73 home victory. The Pride allowed Sacred Heart to shoot 48 percent from the field, seven percent better than Hofstra’s mark. Free throws pushed Hofstra ahead, getting 29 chances from the stripe compared to the Pioneer’s 16.
For the Pioneers, they are coming off a season opening 85-63 loss to Fairfield. Although they shot a pedestrian 39 percent from the field, while going 18 percent from downtown, the one bright spot was sophomore guard, Quincy McKnight.
McKnight absolutely shined in the first game, going 9-18 from the field for 25 points. He also added nine rebounds, one three pointer and four steals.
No doubt an absolute stat-sheet stuffer, look for McKnight to be the main focal point of the offense against the Pride.
Other than McKnight, there really was not much help elsewhere for Sacred Heart. Forward De’von Barnett scored the second most points for the Pioneers, dropping 12 points on 6-12 shooting.
On the other side, the Pride will look to clean up a lot of the shooting that nearly lost it its home opener. Sharpshooter, Brian Bernardi had one of the worst games in his career, shooting 0-9 from the field while going 0-8 from deep.
In addition, although he grabbed 23 boards, center Rokas Gustys shot 0-8 from the charity stripe.
It will be interesting to see if Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich decides to switch up his lineup for the upcoming game or for the regular season for that matter.
In game one, starters Jamall Robinson and Justin Wright-Foreman played a total of 14 and 15 minutes, while guys off the bench like Pemberton and Ty Greer played close to 25 minutes each.
Expect the Pride to come out, play hard and look to top a Pioneers team for a second consecutive season.