Even though Saint Francis was 0-2, both games were close losses. The Terriers had Seton Hall on the ropes, leading most of the game before eventually falling to the Pirates at the Prudential Center in overtime 75-71. Then Saint Francis traveled to Lafayette. They had a six point lead midway in the second half before losing to the Leopards 79-73. This was their third of nine straight games on the road for the "Rise and Fire" Terriers, who had forty nine 3 point attempts in their first two games (St Francis had made nineteen of those attempts). I noted in a tweet earlier today (@gmoore21566) that their motto should be the Intellivision B-17 Bomber game's cry "Bombs Away!".
In the first half, the Pride behind Mike Moore and Nathaniel Lester were taking their defenders to the hole. In particular, Moore was having success, often by being fouled. He went to the line eight times, hitting seven of his free throws, on his way to scoring fourteen points in the first half. Lester was also effective, scoring seven points before having to sit part of the half due to two fouls. Hofstra's biggest lead of the first half was six, 28-22, after a David Imes three pointer. The Pride only had three 3 point attempts in the first half.
The Terriers three pointers offset the Pride's advantage in free throw attempts in the first half, nineteen to six. What made things closer was the Pride only made twelve of those three point attempts. And the Pride didn't help themselves on the boards, managing not even one offensive rebound in the first half.
So it was no surprise to anyone that the score was 32-30 Hofstra at the half. During halftime, the crowd's attention was drawn to an interesting contest where students competed in a rapid fire free throw shooting contest for a round trip JetBlue ticket.
Over the next twelve minutes, the lead changed back and forth often in the second half (eight times overall in the game). The Terriers had a three point lead, 57-54 with 6:24 left. But the Pride went on a 7-0 spurt, culminated by who else, Mike Moore with a turnaround jumper to put the Pride up to stay 61-57 with a little more than two and a half minutes left..
The Terriers would not quit. Nichols would hit a jumper off a set timeout play to cut the lead to 61-59. Then after a few empty possessions by both teams, Saint Francis' Dre Calloway was fouled on a layup attempt. The Lions Den student section, hungry for a chance to make a difference, screamed as loud as they possibly could on the free throw attempts. To them, Calloway was fresh meat. And Calloway obliged, missing both free throws badly and the Pride had another chance to put the game away.
Moore led the way for Hofstra with a double double, twenty three points and ten rebounds. Lester nearly had a double double of his own, thirteen points and nine rebounds. Nichols had twelve points to lead Saint Francis, while Johnson added eleven points. The big difference in the game was free throw attempts. Hofstra had thirty six attempts, though they only made twenty three. Saint Francis only had thirteen, making ten. And of course, the Terriers matched their season average on three point attempts, attempting twenty five three pointers on the night, hitting only seven.
For Saint Francis, their long November road doesn't get any easier with a Tuesday night game vs. St John's. As for Hofstra, they are home again to Florida Atlantic, also a Tuesday night game. Another night at the Mack Center, another recap for the 800 Games Project.
I wonder how the Lions Den feels about Owls.
(This article is also posted on the 800 Games Project on the MidMajority Site)