(Note: I have been terribly derelict about posting game recaps this season, partially because I’ve been busy with work and fatherhood but mostly because this season has been devastatingly depressing. However, I hate the idea of not properly archiving these games, so to speak, so I came up with a compromise that will allow me to chronicle #HofstraPun the season in a basic, quick-hit fashion. So welcome to The Good, The Bad & The Quirky. Or, as I like to call it, TGTBATQ. Pretty self-explanatory, and probably something I should consider employing from the start next year so that I don’t fall into this trap again. Enjoy!)
THE GOOD: Well, Jaime Larranaga—i.e. The Great Satan—was nowhere to be seen. Larranaga was surely peeved to see that his gentlemanly replacement, Paul Hewitt, eased off the pedal once the Patriots expanded their lead to 32 points with under eight minutes to play. He was also surely furious that the walk-ons got some serious run and that Hewitt pulled Cassara aside for a pep talk following the post-game handshake. I think Jaime is still mad that Mo was outside of the coaches’ box during Hofstra’s win over Mason in January 2011.
Nobody got punched in the nuts. Moussa Kone had nine points and six rebounds and once again tied a post-arrests season high with 25 minutes played. Matt Grogan tied his career high with seven points, the fourth time this year he’s scored seven points. The Dutchmen didn’t lose by 30! And nobody got punched in the nuts, probably because Jaime Larranaga was nowhere to be seen.
THE BAD: Everything else. Playing 48 hours after the loss to Drexel in which Stephen Nwaukoni suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, the Dutchmen looked like an exhausted, depleted team in a wire-to-wire defeat. The Dutchmen were an unsightly 4-of-27 from the field in the first half and remained within shouting distance (they were down seven with 2:38 left) only because Mason was still reeling from a Homecoming drubbing by Georgia State four days earlier. Once the Patriots shook the malaise, the rout was on. Mason led by 17 two minutes into the second and went on a 25-8 run later in the half to take that 32-point lead at 70-38.
Taran Buie led the Dutchmen with 12 points, but was 5-of-21 from the field, including 1-of-10 from 3-point land. Stevie Mejia had four assists and two steals but otherwise had his worst game in weeks as he scored eight points on 2-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-9 from the free throw line. Can’t win when your guards are 7-of-34 from the field and 1-of-13 from beyond the arc.
THE QUIRKY: The loss was the worst regular season home loss for Hofstra during the #CAAHoops era and the Dutchmen’s second-worst conference regular season loss in that span (behind a 77-46 loss to Old Dominion March 1, 2003). It was also the worst home loss since a 100-71 drubbing at the hands of Malik Rose and Drexel way back on Jan. 6, 1996—so long ago, I was still a student. Darren Payen made his first start and scored two points and pulled down four rebounds in 20 minutes, his most extensive playing time since his collegiate debut against SMU on Dec. 1.
3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. George Mason, 2/20)
3: Moussa Kone
2: Taran Buie
1: Stevie Mejia
44: Stevie Mejia
34: Taran Buie
28: Stephen Nwaukoni
15: David Imes
12: Jordan Allen
8: Moussa Kone
3: Daquan Brown
2: Matt Grogan
1: Adam Savion
***21 points vacated