Friday, November 25, 2011

Five halftime thoughts: Rhode Island

1.) Well, the Flying Dutchmen sure make things interesting, don’t they? This looked like a North Carolina-level rout when Rhode Island went on a 16-0 run early in the first half and took several 18-point leads, but Mike Moore—who was just about invisible in the first 12 minutes—went on his own 12-0 run and the Dutchmen actually whittled the lead down to four in the final minute before entering the half down 45-39. Moore has 17 points, just 11 shy of his career high, and has hit four of his five 3-point attempts. Once again, there is no quit in the Dutchmen, which is the most encouraging thing to emerge from the first two weeks of the season.

2.) Hofstra has its hands full on defense with a very athletic Rhode Island team finally clicking after three road losses. Mo Cassara ditched the zone defense after the Rams drained their first three 3-pointers and five of their first eight overall, but the Dutchmen may not have the bodies to handle Rhode Island inside with Bryant Crowder (finally making his debut) racking up three quick fouls in just five minutes and Nathaniel Lester and David Imes each picking up two. In addition, Rhode Island is outrebounding Hofstra 19-10.

3.) Rhode Island is going to score plenty of points—the Rams were 16-of-31 from the field and picked up 10 offensive rebounds—so the Dutchmen will have to hit their shots in the second half. They went six straight possessions without a point during the Rams’ 16-0 run and don’t have the depth to withstand another huge surge by Rhode Island.

4.) Somewhat remarkably, the Dutchmen ended up shooting 54.2 percent (13-of-24) overall and 63 percent (5-of-8) from 3-point land even after that awful start. Stevie Mejia appears to have asserted himself at point guard with 19 solid minutes, so the Dutchmen’s surge appears sustainable.

5.) The good Lester is back, with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting to go along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He initially stemmed the Rhode Island run by scoring seven straight Hofstra points. The Dutchmen will need him and Moore at their best to have a shot at an unlikely comeback win in the second half.

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