DREXEL 63, HOFSTRA 56
HOFSTRA SEASON RECORDS: 9-4, 1-1 CAA
PLACE IN CAA STANDINGS: tied for 3rd
JENKINS SEASON AVERAGES: 18.3 pts, 5.2 reb, 4.1 ast, 3.5 to
A brand new year (Happy 2009, by the way, everyone!), but of late, the same result for the Jenkins and Hofstra, as they lost for the third time on the past four games due to an offense that has yet to find its way on a consistent basis. in its conference home opener, the Pride dropped a tough one to Drexel, its biggest rival going back to the days when both schools played in the northeast-area America East Conference, prior to each joining the Virginia-CAA nearly a decade ago.
Though Hofstra and Jenkins each showed some positive signs shooting the ball in the second half, the first half was brutal to watch. A fellow media member (whose name identity I'll protect) sitting next to me got up from his seat to visit the men's room with just over two minutes left in the half, with Drexel leading 22-16, and said to me "I can't watch any more of this, I'll be back."
Shortly thereafter, one of the referees summed the opening half up perfectly without a word. He didn't need to utter one, since a single look said it all, and it made me laugh, given the source. As I sat at the media table, the ref simply walked right passed me rolled his eyes toward the rafters and shook his head as if to say "What kind of awful basketball did I just have to officiate?"
When the reporter I mentioned above returned as the half started with Drexel up 24-18, I didn't ask if he left to wash his eyes out or maybe to throw up from the ugly ball he witnessed, but those wouldn't have been unreasonable questions.
Drexel held that 6-point lead at the half despite shooting just 30% (9-for-30) form the floor in the first half. Why? because Hofstra turned the ball over 7 times, had only 3 assists, and shot just 24% (7-for-29) in the opening half.
For the first time this season, Jenkins went scoreless in a half (going 0-for-2, including 0-for-1 from three-point range in the first half, playing only 10 minutes after picking up two fouls in the first 5:12 of the game). The second foul was a needless one, with Jenkins going over the back trying to grab an offensive rebound that he had little chance of pulling down. Jenkins had just one real highlight in the first half, when he penetrated nicely from the left wing, stopping at the foul line for a nice dish to Senior guard Greg Johnson, who made an open jumper to pull Hofstra to within 22-16 with 3:35 left in the half.
Jenkins and Head Coach Tom Pecora each recognized that Hofstra lacked intensity on Saturday. Jenkins said, "I thought that we were going to come back, but at the same time, at home, we should never get down. You have to play harder than your opponent every night."
Pecora said the team was "flat offensively," something that has persisted in recent games, as Pecora admitted "We were flat offensively in New Hampshire, and I thought we were flat against Iona."
The second half saw a lot more offensive fluidity from both teams. Drexel shot 46% (11-for-24 form the field, and that included just 1 of 10 from three-point range). The real difference was at the foul line, with Drexel going 16 of 23 compared to Hofstra's 3 of 6 from the charity stripe in the second half.
Drexel capped an 8-2 run to start the second half when Jenkins had his dribble stolen in the front court, and then committed his third foul at the other end, for a three-point play by Drexel's Scott Rodgers (game-high 25 points) to put Hofstra in a 32-20 hole, with 16:23 left in the game.
Jenkins responded though. He shot 5-for 8 in the second half, and finished with 10 points to score in double figures for the 28th straight game dating back to last season.
Jenkins initiated a timeout by the always-animated Drexel Head Coacxh Bruiser Flint when he took a block by teammate Nathaniel Lester (Canarsie), raced up the floor, and finished with a nifty fingeroll to pull the Pride to within 32-24, with 15:08 left.
A possession later, Jenkins made a very nice hanging leaner off the glass, falling to the ground, to slice Drexel's lade to 32-26.
But, going for a tie-up on the defensive end, Jenkins committed an ill-advised fourth foul with a push in the back at the 13:53 mark. Jenkins didn't come back in until over five minutes later, and with Jenkins out, Drexel was on its way to opening its biggest lead of the
game, 47-34, just 1:14 after Jenkins returned to the floor.
After the game, Jenkins commented on his frustration and being able to play only 21 foul-plagued minutes, saying "As a leader, I'm never supposed to sulk on the court. I can't let my teammates see me down. I was just disappointed with how I led my team [today]. I won't let that happen again."
Down the stretch, Jenkins did all he could to keep his team alive. He made a wild, hanging layup, going left, then switching hands in mid-air, going off glass with the right hand for his fifth and sixth points of the game, to get Hofstra to within 47-36.
Later, he assisted on a Cornelius Vines three-pointer; he penetrated into the lane for a nice floater to make it 50-41; he then spun in the lane to his right and finished off the glass, drawing a foul, but missed the free throw, keeping the game, 52-43. But then, after a defensive stop, Jenkins tried to aggressively drive form the left wing, and a border-line call went against him for an offensive foul, fouling him out for the first time this season, with 3:54 left.
Vines kept Hofstra in the game for a while after Jenkins' departure, but 7 late Drexel free throws iced the game.
So, same problems for Jenkins sand Hofstra, overall. But, the second half might be something to draw on with Jenkins shooting 5-for-8 and Hofstra shooting 50% from the field. We'll see if that translates into anything helpful in a tough road CAA contest at Northeastern on Monday night.