HEMPSTEAD, NY – The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team (15-9, 7-6 CAA) entertains Old Dominion (15-8, 8-5 CAA) at the Mack Sports Complex on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in a pivotal Colonial Athletic Association contest, which will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Hofstra comes into the game in seventh place in the CAA at 7-6, but it is only one game out of fourth place, as Old Dominion, James Madison and Drexel are all tied at 8-5. Drexel (at first place Northeastern) and James Madison (at second place VCU) both play tough road games on Wednesday, which would mean that the Pride could pull into a four-way tie for fourth place with a win over Monarchs. The top four teams in the CAA standings receive opening-round byes in CAA Tournament, which will be held from March 6-9 in Richmond, Virginia.
Hofstra and Old Dominion also only play each other one time this season, which gives the game added significance for potenital tiebreakers. Should the two teams end up in a two-way tie for fourth, the winner of Tuesday’s game would earn the
fourth seed and the opening-round bye.
If the past is any indication, the game should come right down to the wire. Hofstra has won five of the seven games in the series at the Mack Sports Complex, including 5-1 in the regular season (Old Dominion captured an NIT quarterfinal game at Hofstra in 2006). Four of the six regular season meetings have come down to buzzer-beaters, including misses by Old Dominion in 2001-02 (67-66) and 2003-04 (80-79), a miss by Hofstra in 2004-05 (67-66) and a made three-pointer by Hofstra’s Aurimas Kieza in 2005-06 (65-63). Old Dominion holds a 10-7 lead in the all-time series, which includes a win in 1993-94, before the Pride joined the CAA.
If the game does come down to the wire, Hofstra will be in familiar territory. The Pride is a remarkable 10-2 this year in games decided by five points or less, including its last three conference wins, which have featured last-minute game-winners from three different players. Sophomore guard Charles Jenkins (Queens, NY) defeated James Madison with a jumper with 1.9 seconds left on Jan. 24, senior forward Arminas Urbutis (Kaunas, Lithuania) defeated UNC Wilmington at the buzzer on Jan. 28 and sophmore forward Greg Washington (Centereach, NY) hit the game-winner with 30 seconds left in Saturday’s 71-68 win over Towson.
Jenkins currently leads Hofstra with 18.1 points per game, which ranks him second in the CAA behind VCU guard Eric Maynor. He is also ninth in the CAA in assists (3.5 per game) and eighth in free throw percentage (81.0 percent). Sophomore guard Nathaniel
Lester (Brooklyn, NY) has stepped up recently as
a secondary option, scoring in double figures in four of the last five contests, including a career-high 21 in Saturday’s win over Towson. Lester had 19 of his 21 points in the second half, including 13 of Hofstra’s 17 points during a 10-minute stretch when Jenkins was on the bench with four fouls.
The Monarchs come into the week at 15-8 and riding a four-game winning streak which has pushed them into a tie for fourth place in the CAA, including a 63-53 win at Drexel on Saturday in the first part of their two-game, five-day road trip. Junior forward Gerald Lee leads the Old Dominion offense with 15.1 points per game, including 22.0 in the last four. Ben Finney is the only other Monarch in double figures (10.7), while point guard Darius James has 107 assists and only 52 turnovers.
For ticket information, contact the Hofstra Box Office at 516-HOF-TIXX (516-463-8499).