Thursday, March 18, 2010

So After All That, 952, Really?

I want to give you three numbers. 667. 877. 952. What do they all have in common? Those were the attendance figures for Green Bay - Akron, Duquesne - Princeton, and IUPUI - Hofstra CBI games. Yes, that's how many people showed up for each of those games. Talk about flat out embarrassing.

And speaking of flat, that's what the Pride were when they came out and saw that nobody attended this game. The Jaguars jumped out to a 21-2 lead with 12:34 left in the first half as their athletic forwards Alex Young and Robert Glenn just ran rings around a Greg Washington-less Pride frontcourt (Washington had sprained his ankle last week and tried to go in practice earlier in the day and couldn't).

Meanwhile Hofstra couldn't hit the side of a barn for the first seven and a half minutes. The Pride shot 1 for 10 from the field, missed both free throw attempts and committed six turnovers in that span. Coach Tom Pecora was so frustrated at the play of Chaz Williams that he sat him for the last twelve and a half minutes of the first half.

Hofstra would come back led by Charles Jenkins and Halil Kanacevic as they combined for fifteen points during their 21-8 run to get the Pride back within six, 29-23 with 3:14 left, but the Jaguars would respond with a 8-1 spurt to end the half. John Ashworth's three point jumper at the buzzer capped the spurt to put IUPUI up 37-24 at the half. Glenn had 16 points to lead all scorers while Young added 12 for the Jaguars. IUPUI shot 53 percent from the field in the first half while Hofstra shot 31 percent including 0 of 8 from beyond the arc.

That's all that we would watch live as Tieff and I headed out to Stony Brook for the Seawolves - Illini NIT game. I put 88.7 WRHU FM on the radio and we listened to the start of the second half. And it was no better than the start of the first half. Jenkins finally hit first three pointer for Hofstra on the night to cut the lead to ten, 39-29. But IUPUI would score the next seven points to extended the lead to seventeen, 46-29.

And we could have turned the radio off right there. And well we did after we lost reception somewhere on the Northern State Parkway in Suffolk county. The Pride did though make a little run to cut the lead to nine 50-41 on a Charles Jenkins three point play with 6:59 left. But that's as close as Hofstra came the rest of the way as IUPUI won their 25th game on the season convincingly 74-60.

The senior Glenn led all scorers with 32 points on 9 of 18 shooting from the field and 14 of 17 from the line. Young added 18 for IUPUI. As usual, Jenkins led Hofstra with 21 points, but was held to 13 FG attempts (making six of them) and was 8 of 9 from the line. The Pride was held to nearly 36 percent from the field and shot a miserable 2 of 19 from beyond the arc.

Compared to the sold out raucous fun atmosphere we experienced at Stony Brook later in the evening (more on that in a post tomorrow), the crowd for the game was incredibly disappointing and the play of Hofstra matched it. There were only sixty more people here on a beautiful warm March evening for this game than the blizzard/noreaster Drexel-Hofstra game on February 10, which Tieff and I were at as well.

After defending Hofstra's decision to spend an inordinate amount of money to host a CBI game, I can assure you Hofstra will never do this again. Where were all the fans that got on the CAAZone board last year and criticized the Hofstra Administration for not playing in a CBI or CIT game? Hofstra spent the money, made the effort, sent out the promised e-mail to all their season ticket holders and Pride club members and publicized the event.

Perhaps too many were busy celebrating St Patty's Day like the one student I saw being ejected by Public Safety 15 minutes before game time. And perhaps many people saw the contest as an exhibition game as Whelliston might put it and stayed home with their green beer instead. Though they missed a pretty good IUPUI team. Glenn and Young are impressive.

Unlike several of the NIT games last night that got good crowds like Memphis, Wichita State and Stony Brook, the CBI has not done well at all attendance wise. If the cost was really $60,000 to host a game, then Hofstra spent $63 per person who attended. Somehow that money can be better spent somewhere else in the basketball program. And if the other games' attendance figures last night are any indication, then the CBI has a short shelf life. A very short shelf life indeed.

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