Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Halftime Thoughts: Long Island

1.) Charles Jenkins didn’t graduate, he just cloned himself and returned as Nathaniel Lester. The fifth-year senior is having an incredible game with 17 points—including 11 in a row to jumpstart a 15-7 run by the Flying Dutchmen—and is just five points shy of his career high, set way back in the double OT classic against James Madison in February 2009. He also has three boards and two steals is looking like someone who waited 604 days to play this game. If Lester reaches the potential he flashed in his first three years, this season could be a lot better than anyone expected.

2.) David Imes was the Mike Moore to Lester’s Jenkins with eight points (on 4-of-6 shooting) and four rebounds and played like the guy everyone is expecting to flirt with double-doubles on a nightly basis. Imes and Lester have combined to play 37 minutes, only one other Dutchman has played more than 13 (Moore).

3.) Of course, since the Dutchmen are only up 32-30, the first half wasn’t a complete thing of beauty for Hofstra. Much as they did last season, the Dutchmen allowed a team to come back late in the first half and turn what could have been a rout into a nailbiter. The Dutchmen went 11 straight possessions without scoring before Shemiye McLendon’s 3-pointer in the final minute as Long Island whittled a nine-point lead to two. Mo Cassara is surely talking about finishing off teams as I type.

4.) Moore and Stevie Mejia have struggled, with Moore racking up as many turnovers and fouls as points (two) and Mejia committing two turnovers and seeing as much time at the point as Dwan McMillan. The Dutchmen need one or both players to find their form in the second half.

5.) Foul trouble is an issue for the Dutchmen, who have collected 11 fouls and gone to the line just twice. Stephen Nwaukoni has two fouls in six minutes, Moussa Kone played just eight minutes and Bryant Crowder is inactive, so Imes will have his hands full in the second half down low. Fortunately for the Dutchmen, Long Island was just 6-of-13 from the line.

6.) Bonus thought: This is a surprisingly electric atmosphere. A win here would go a long way towards not only building confidence for the Dutchmen heading to Oregon State and the meat of the non-conference schedule but also give Cassara quite a boost in generating fan support.

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