HOFSTRA 69, DELAWARE 59
HOFSTRA SEASON RECORDS: 17-9, 9-6 CAA
PLACE IN CAA STANDINGS: tied for 5th
JENKINS SEASON AVERAGES: 18.3 pts, 4.9 reb, 3.6 ast, 3.3 to
Sometimes, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Other times, they show everything.
The latter is the case in Hofstra’s win at Delaware on Saturday, and in looking at how the numbers from that game are sort of a microcosm of the Pride’s season to this point.
It’s a simple formula. When Charles Jenkins scores, and gets others involved, Hofstra wins…
First half at Delaware on Saturday:
Jenkins - 9 pts on 4-11 fg, 3 ast, 2 to; Hofstra - 22 pts on 27% (9-34 fg) shooting.
Hofstra’s 9 middle games this season: Jenkins - 12.2 ppg, didn’t reach 20 pts once; Hofstra 3-6 record.
See a pattern?
Second half at Delaware on Saturday…
Jenkins - 17 pts on 5-7 fg, 6 ast, 0 to; Hofstra:47 pts on 62% (16-26 fg) shooting.
Hofstra’s first 8 games this season: Jenkins - 21.8 ppg, 6 games scoring > 20 pts; Hofstra started 7-1, and ...
Hofstra’s last 9 games this season:
Jenkins - 21.3 ppg, 6 games scoring > 20 pts; Hofstra 7-2 record and a current 3-game win streak.
See a drastically different pattern?
The return to the earlier blue (and gold) print, could have Hofstra peaking at exactly the right time, with just four regular season games left for the Pride before it begins its quest for a CAA tournament championship and an NCAA tournament berth next month.
How about a few more numbers and a couple more patterns?
With its strong second-half performance, Hofstra made 41% of its field goal attempts for the game on Saturday, making the Pride a perfect 10-0 this season when it shoots at least 40% from the floor. When the Pride shoots under 40% from the field this season? A very different 7-9 record.
A big part of those last set of numbers is not only Jenkins scoring during the good stretches versus not scoring during the bad streaks, but helping his teammates get good looks and making them key parts of the offense. That’s something which has happened a lot during Hofstra’s recent resurgence from a team which started 2-4 in the CAA to a team which at 9-6, is positioning it self pretty well for a CAA tournament seed which could allow itself to make some significant noise in that tournament. And, it happened again on Saturday.
Two other main parts of Jenkins’ local sophomore class, Nathaniel Lester (Canarsie) and Greg Washington (Centereach) also followed the above model. When Jenkins struggled in the first half, so did they (Lester and Washington: just 2 points each in that half). But, when Jenkins turned it up in the second half, not only scoring, but handing out 6 of 8 game-high assists (which were most of Hofstra’s 11 for the game), that helped guys like Lester (10 second-half points) and Washington (8 second-half points) become key contributors. It also helped get senior forward Zygis Sestokas on track to make two three-pointers in the second half, to finish with 9 points, after he made just one trey in the second half.
As a result, Hofstra, as the numbers show above, was a tale of two completely different halves at Delaware, with Jenkins a lot more on his game after halftime. The Pride started slowly (trailing 9-4), before going on a big 13-2 run (to lead 17-11), only to see the Blue Hens close the half on 16-5 run, to grab a 27-22 lead by halftime.
After Delaware extended that lead to 29-22, Hofstra stormed back with a 12-0 run, to go up 34-29, with 14:50 left in the game, with Jenkins (7 points), Lester (3 points), and Washington (2 points) accounting for all of the scoring during that surge.
The Blue Hens regained the lead, 45-43, with 9:44 remaining, but again, Jenkins scoring and setting up his teammates, brought the Pride back. Jenkins made a jumper, assisted on both a three-pointer by Sestokas and a jumper by senior forward Arminas Urbutis (4 points). That completed a 7-0 run which put Hofstra back up, 50-45, with 7:41 to go.
Again though, Delaware (11-16, 5-10 CAA) wouldn’t go away, tying the game 52-52 with 5:19 left. But, a Lester jumper with 5:05 remaining put the Pride up for good, 54-52. After that, it was again, all Jenkins (6 points), Washington (6 points), and Lester (3 points) at the offensive end, to help Hofstra pull away to a double-digit win.
Jenkins assisted on two key hoops by Washington (shots that gave Hofstra leads of 58-53, and later, 61-55); Lester got to the line, where he made 3 of 4 free throws; and Jenkins closed things out making 4 of 4 at the line in the final :27.
Next up for the Pride will be a big CAA showdown at home, on Wednesday, with James Madison, a team that Hofstra beat in the road by a point, on a game-winner by Jenkins in the final seconds on January 24th. The winner will still have a decent shot at CAA tourney first-round bye, the loser will likely have to win four games in four days in that tourney (never an easy feat), and could fall to as low as a 7 seed.
The conference has become so competitive in recent weeks, that Hofstra and JMU are two of the top seven teams, separated by only two games, and they’re each tied with Old Dominion (16-9, 9-6 CAA), just a half-game behind fourth-place Drexel (13-10, 9-5 CAA), and only game behind third-place George Mason (17-8, 10-5 CAA). Tied at the top, are VCU (18-8, 11-4 CAA) and Northeastern (16-9, 11-4 CAA).