Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Starting the New Year With An Exciting FoulFest as Hofstra Defeats Drexel

Happy New Year!  I will have the full story about this weekend later today, but I took an overnight trip this weekend.  It consisted of a Jets Game, then an overnight stay in Atlantic City for some poker, capped by last night's exciting win by Hofstra over Drexel.    It was my first time back in Drexel since 2006, which was a pretty exciting game as well.

There were 50 fouls combined and 59 free throws combined by both teams at the DAC as Hofstra downed Drexel 75-69.  It literally seemed if you breathed on a player, a CAA official was calling a foul on you.  The arena was hot, loud, and pretty good attendance for a Monday night since Drexel actually started undergraduate classes yesterday (Hofstra does not start undergraduate classes until the end of January).

Drexel really worked the ball inside last night, especially to Samme Givens and got Hofstra's bigs into foul trouble early.  The Pride's Greg Washington and Stephen Nwaukoni each picked up two fouls quickly (Washington would add a third foul before the end of the first half).   But Hofstra moved the ball around much better than they did in their last game vs. Iona. They got Charles Jenkins involved early and David Imes had his best game all season.

The Pride went out to a 34-27 halftime lead.  But the Dragons stormed back in the beginning of the second half as again Drexel worked it inside.  This time they picked up a lot of fouls on Hofstra, including Washington's fourth and Jenkins quickly picked up several fouls and had four as well and went to the bench with the Pride down 44-40 with 14:11 left.

But Hofstra hung in there without Jenkins and when he entered the game with 9:45 left, the Pride had actually cut the deficit to two 48-46.  The score remained close throughout the rest of the second half. And the pace slowed since as mentioned before, both teams spent quality time at the charity stripe.

Drexel would have its last lead at 62-61 on two Dartaye Ruffin free throws with 2:59 left. But Hofstra would then score the next seven straight points capped by a Mike Moore three point play to put the Pride up 68-62 with exactly one minute left.  Drexel would cut the lead to 72-69 on a Gerald Colds layup.  But Hofstra would score the last three points ironically on a David Imes three point play (the game had to end in a foul) and Hofstra would win 75-69.

It was a total team effort on Hofstra's part.  Jenkins had 23 points, while David Imes had a career high 20 points and 8 rebounds.  Mike Moore had 11 points and 9 rebounds.  And the bench was huge as Coach Mo Cassara played nine players.  And rarely used Paul Bilbo gave five quality minutes when most of Hofstra was in foul trouble.

Drexel's Givens would lead all scorers with 25, while Ruffin added 16, which included 10 of 13 from the line.  Drexel pounded the boards, outrebounding Hofstra 39-29 and had 13 offensive rebounds, typical of a Bruiser Flint team.  Chris Fouch had to work for his 13 points as Hofstra's Yves Jules did a great job hounding him all night as Fouch was held to 3 of 10 shooting and only one made three pointer.

Again, I will have the full story later, but it was typical of another crazy night in the CAA where the unexpected ruled supreme.   Georgia State stunned VCU  UNC Wilmington won at William and Mary, while ODU struggled to win at Towson.  George Mason won by six over Delaware and Madison held on at home to beat Northeastern.   Only three teams in the CAA are left undefeated - Hofstra, George Mason and wait for it..Georgia State.  And one of those teams will no longer be undefeated on Wednesday as Hofstra hosts Mason.   Typical CAA craziness.

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