Carlos’ Record Day Helps Hot-Shooting Hofstra Claim Position for Top-Four Seed

Lee S. Weissman (

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y — Hofstra Pride junior point guard Jaquan Carlos was already within one assist of his career-best against a Division-I opponent by halftime. Then he got even more assists in the second half, eclipsing one record after another while singlehandedly recording more assists than the Northeastern Huskies.

Finishing with 19 assists and only two turnovers (to go along with five points and a game-high eight rebounds), Carlos humbly credited his hot-shooting teammates for helping him rewrite the Coastal Athletic Association and Hofstra record books in a dominating 82-62 Pride win over the Huskies at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex on Saturday.

After ending his remarkable day of dishing as the all-time single-game assist leader for a CAA conference game, a CAA game overall, and in Hofstra program history, Carlos focused more on those who he set up rather than on himself.

Glancing at the final box score, Carlos saw how junior transfer guards Darlinstone Dubar (24 points on 10-for-16 shooting) and German Plotnikov (20 points on 7-for-9 shooting) led fourth-place Hofstra (16-11, 9-5 CAA) while graduate guard Tyler Thomas (18 points on 6-for-14 shooting) barely missed giving the Pride a trio of 20-point scorers.

It’s definitely a big day [that] I’m going to remember, but it’s a shout-out to my teammates,” Carlos said. “Without those guys making shots — like German, 7-for-9, ‘Stone, 10-for-16 — without them, I couldn’t be able to do it.”

With Carlos repeatedly putting his teammates in good position to make shots, Hofstra shot very well from all over the floor, going 32-for-57 (56.1 percent) from the field. Led by Plotnikov (4-for-5), Dubar (4-for-7) and Thomas (3-for-8), the Pride shot a sizzling 48.1 percent (13-for-27) from 3-point range.

It was actually Plotnikov rather than Carlos who assisted twice as Hofstra scored nine straight points after 11th-place Northeastern (10-17, 5-9 CAA) opened with a layup by graduate forward Chris Doherty (12 points).

Leading by just three later in the half, a 14-6 run pushed the Pride’s advantage to 32-21 on a pair of Thomas free throws.

That margin was matched when Carlos made his only 3-pointer in the final seconds of the frame to send Hofstra to intermission with a 41-30 lead. Less than a minute earlier, Carlos stole the ball in the back court, near the paint, and got his ninth assist.

Nine straight points — on a Thomas 3-pointer and two Plotnikov treys — blew the game open, at 54-37, with 13.58 left. Carlos assisted on the first two of those 3s, with the helper on Thomas’ 3 giving Carlos his 11th assist, to establish a personal career-best against a Division I opponent.

Carlos’ 14th assist, breaking his old career-high of 13 against Division III Old Westbury last season, came on a Dubar layup that put the Pride ahead, 58-43, with 11:17 to go.

His 16th assist, on a Dubar 3-pointer that made it 65-48 with 8:52 left, eclipsed a Hofstra CAA-era high of 15 set by Dwan McMillan on Feb. 25, 2012.

Carlos’ next assist, on a Thomas 3-pointer, which gave the Pride a 68-48 lead 23 seconds later, simultaneously set two more records, breaking the all-time CAA conference game record of 16 assists (set by Richmond’s Greg Beckwith on the same date as McMillian’s 15-assist game, exactly 24 years earlier, in 1986) while beating the prior all-time Hofstra record of 16 assists set by Robbie Weingard in the 1983-84 season.

Assist No. 18, on a Plotnikov 3-pointer with 7:22 to remaining, moved Carlos past Joey Rodriguez, whose 17 assists in VCU’s 2012-13 non-conference season opener had been the most by a CAA player in any game overall.

Saving his best assist for last, Carlos, from about 40 feet away from the hoop, threw a difficult but perfect one-handed bounce pass that landed in the paint to feed graduate forward Jacco Fritz for a layup that made it a 27-point game with 3:57 left before a jumper by Dubar on the Pride’s next trip pushed the margin to a game-high 80-51.

Dubar scored that bucket off of a pass from Carlos, but with Dubar taking a few seconds with a couple of dribbles before scoring, Carlos wasn’t credited with a 20th assist. Carlos might’ve also reached 20 assists had Dubar earlier put away a lob pass from Carlos with 4:35 left. Dubar instead scored on a second-chance bucket three seconds later to make it 76-51.

Although he barely missed reaching that 20-mark, Carlos tallied one more assist than the 18 recorded by the Huskies, which beat the Pride, 71-68, in Boston, on Jan. 11.

Perhaps selling himself a little short, head coach Craig “Speedy” Claxton, a Hofstra legend as the Pride’s eighth-highest scorer and all-time assist leader (with 660 career assists), congratulated Carlos’ record-setting performance, which included moving into a tie with Woody Souffrant for ninth-place on the all-time Hofstra list with 362 assists, but which still has Carlos only 55 percent of the way toward Claxton’s assist record for the same program.

I never got that many assists [in a game],” Claxton said as he Carlos both laughed. “I was a bucket getter — a little jealous there — but that’s big, that’s good stuff.

Amazing. That’s what we expect from him. He gets all these guys shots and when he’s playing like that, we’re unguardable. I’m proud of J.C. He’s our true leader.”

On his own performance, Carlos added, “I knew every time I got the ball in the paint, [Northeastern] was vulnerable and I just kept finding my shooters. The defense was collapsing every time… and my teammates were hitting [shots], so I was trying to do anything to get them wide-open shots.”

Although he entered the day averaging 5.8 assists per game, Carlos broke out after totaling only 11 assists over his prior four games, following a 10-assist game in a Feb. 1 home win over Stony Brook.

Coming off of a tough two-point loss (Hofstra’s fifth CAA defeat this season in which the Pride led with seven minutes or fewer remaining) at Drexel on Thursday night, Hofstra was looking to recover after Thomas led the Pride with 34 points while none of Thomas’ teammates scored more than 11.

It was just taking what the defense gave me,” Carlos explained. “I felt like I had to get more paint touches to get my guys open shots instead of having Tyler work hard for his baskets, so I feel like I kind of took a load off him in getting [other] guys open shots.”

Claxton said, “We were clicking today. Tyler carried a heavy load on Thursday and the others didn’t really step up but today, they did, and Tyler still played well… once we get that kind of point production from the others, we’re really hard to beat.”

Claxton added of Carlos, “We definitely want to have the ball in our playmaker’s hands because he’s always going to make the right decision. I’m confident with him having the basketball.”

While Northeastern shot efficiently, going 24-for-50 (48 percent), the Huskies’ offense wasn’t impactful as three of its four top scorers this season were held in check in one half or the other.

Doherty didn’t score in the second half after doing damage in the opening stanza. Graduate guard Luka Sakota, who led Northeastern with 19 points in the Huskies’ win during the teams’ first meeting this season, led Northeastern again, but only with 13 points this time and was held to just two points in the first half. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Masai Troutman (11 points) scored only two points in the second half.

I’m extremely satisfied with how we played on both ends of the court,” Claxton said. “We have to rely on our defense to carry us most [games]. Offense wins games but defense wins championships, and we’re trying to win a [CAA tournament] championship.”

Carlos added, “Today, we were locked in defensively. We can’t let our offense carry us because there are going to be days when we don’t hit shots like [we did today], but the defense still has to be the main priority in order for us to win games.”

Reflecting on Thursday night’s loss in which Dubar only had nine points on 3-of-9 shooting, Claxton noted, “D-Stone apologized to the team yesterday for his performance — not that he needed to — but a great bounce-back game from him.”

In a rare departure from a season which has been characterized by inconsistency from one half to another or from one stretch of a game to another for Hofstra this season, the Pride played well from start to finish in a way that Claxton hopes can be a springboard for his team’s final four regular season games before next month’s CAA tournament.

Claxton said, “We wanted to play for 40 minutes, not 20, not 30, and I think we did that today. We’ve just got to keep doing that. Once we do that, I think we’ll be a really good team.”

Coupled with Hampton finally getting its first CAA win of the year in a home upset over Towson, the Pride suddenly finds itself in fourth-place in the conference. Holding onto that spot or better would be key for Hofstra as teams seeded five or lower would have to win four games in four days to capture a CAA tournament championship whereas a top-four seed would play one fewer game by earning a double bye to the quarterfinal round.

Reflecting on the loss to Drexel and having to play the Dragons again, for the second time in three games, with Hofstra hosting Drexel on Thursday night, Claxton called the win over Northeastern, “A great bounce-back after a tough loss. We came in and we stood on business. We played the right way. A shout-out to the assistant coaches. They had a great gameplan and these kids, they saw it through.

We lost a tough one to [Drexel]… so it’s going to be payback. We should’ve and could’ve had that win. We let one slip away and we want to just handle business when they come here on Thursday.”

About the Author

Jon Wagner

Jon has been a credentialed writer with New York Sports Day since 2009, primarily covering the New York Knicks and Hofstra men's basketball. He has also occasionally covered other college basketball and New York's pro teams including the Mets, Giants, Jets, Islanders, Rangers and Cosmos (including their three most recent championship seasons).Jon is former Yahoo Sports contributor who previously covered various sports for the Queens Ledger. He's a proud alum of Hofstra University and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (which he attended on a full scholarship).He remains convinced to this day that John Starks would have won the Knicks a championship in 1994 had Hakeem Olajuwon not blocked Starks' shot in Game 6 of the 1994 NBA Finals.

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