HOFSTRA 90, TOWSON 79
HOFSTRA SEASON RECORDS: 6-1, 1-0 CAA
PLACE, CAA STANDINGS: tied for 1st
JENKINS SEASON AVERAGES: 21.9 pts, 4.9 reb, 4.6 ast, 2.9 to
Jenkins' 24 points was a game-high for the 5th time in 7 games this season (he scored a team-high in the other two games), but for the second straight game, Jenkins got a lot of help and Hofstra is starting to come together as a true team, instead of just the Charles Jenkins Show & His Supporting Cast.
What made that such a great sign Hofstra in this game was that this sudden team development came in the Pride's Colonial Athletic Association opener.
After a very solid 6-1 start with 6 straight wins, it's possible Hofstra could be in the mix later on for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in March, but the more likely route to that tournament will be to get as high a seed as possible for the CAA tournament in Richmond and to try to win that tournament for the first time, and take the CAA's automatic bid to crash The Big Dance.
That's why the signs at Towson (4-4, 0-1 CAA) were great for Jenkins and Hofstra... Jenkins was his usual impressive self, going 7-14 from the floor, 2-4 from three, 8-10 at the line, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 turnovers in 37 minutes. BUT, that was only part of Hofstra's impressive torching of the Towson defense for a season-high 90 points which featured 49% shooting from the field; 80% free-throw shooting (25-31 -- which is unheard of for Coach Pecora's teams over the past few years); a 19:11 assist-to-turnover ratio; and a 49-point first-half explosion in taking a 49-42 lead at the break.
9 different Hofstra players scored including 21 from guard Corenelius Vines, who nailed 6 of 9 from behind the arc; a second straight double-double from the thin 6-10 Greg Washington (after he had never prior had a career double-double); and JUCO big men Dane Johnson (9 pts, 6 reb) and Miklos Szabo (9 pts, 4 reb) chipping in up front (something that Hofstra had lacked until the past two games).
The real tests are yet to come in the new year, when Hofstra will resume conference play in January. But lately, especially in the last two games, the signs have been there that as Jenkins continues to roll, the rest of the team is coming together and providing a lot of contributions that weren't there earlier this season, especially up front. Hofstra closes out 2008 with 5 non-conference games, the next one on Wednesday night, as Jenkins and his Pride look to make it 7 straight wins at Long Island rival, Stony Brook (4-3).