(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: For the second time in as many games, the Dutchmen took the no. 2 team in the CAA to the wire. (Technicality: Delaware draws the no. 2 seed in this weekend’s tournament because Towson—which actually finished ahead of the Blue Hens via tiebreakers—is ineligible for the postseason. You may have read about it) The Dutchmen again raced out to a big start as they took a 12-2 lead and were again resilient in the second half, when they fell behind by eight a bit just before the halfway mark yet carried a two-point lead into the under-4 timeout (sound familiar?). And they almost pulled off an incredible, Reggie Miller-esque comeback from a six-point deficit in the final two seconds (but they didn’t, so you’ll read about it in The Bad).
Moussa Kone had the most efficient game by a Dutchmen player in the post-Jenkins era by scoring a career-high 20 points (the second straight game he broke his previous best) on 10-of-13 shooting. He also shared the team lead in rebounds (five), assists (three) and steals (one) with, you guessed it, Stevie Mejia, who also tied a career high with 22 points. Mejia had his own 7-0 run to pull the Dutchmen within one point with seven minutes to play and converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to give Hofstra a 53-50 lead with five minutes to go.
The trio of Mejia, Kone and David Imes (10 points and five rebounds) was almost enough to spoil Towson’s final game at the Towson Center. The three combined to score 21 straight points for Hofstra over the final 10 minutes. And the Dutchmen hit all nine of their free throws, a welcome change for a team that ranks among the worst free throw shooting squads in the country.
THE BAD: The Dutchmen squandered a lead of at least eight points and lost for the sixth time this season. Towson’s 19-4 run—which happened right after the Dutchmen scored the first five points of the second half to extend their lead to seven points—proved to be the difference. Taran Buie drained his first shot of the game, a 3-pointer 89 seconds into the game, and then missed his final eight attempts including six from beyond the arc. Kone, Mejia and Imes were a combined 20-of-32 from the field while the rest of their teammates were 4-of-19.
And the Dutchmen capped a regular season filled with agonizing near-misses in appropriate fashion over the final six seconds. Matt Grogan drained a desperation, H-O-R-S-E-esque 3-pointer (the shot somehow banked in off the far right backboard and through the net) to provide what seemed to be a meaningless final bucket with a second to play. But Towson turned the ball over on the inbounds, which gave the Dutchmen one more shot. Alas, Hofstra was out of timeouts and Mejia took the inbounds pass from Grogan and missed a wild 3-pointer from the right corner as the buzzer sounded. The two seniors trudged off the floor together, with Grogan draping an arm over Mejia’s shoulders, as Towson fans stormed the court to celebrate the greatest turnaround in Division I history.
THE QUIRKY: Grogan’s 3-pointer gave him 98 career points. Towson swept the season series from Hofstra for the first time since the 1990-91 season. The Dutchmen went 30-8 against Towson between sweeps.
3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Towson, 3/2)
3: Moussa Kone
2: Stevie Mejia
1: David Imes
50: Stevie Mejia
35: Taran Buie
28: Stephen Nwaukoni
20: David Imes
14: Moussa Kone
12: Jordan Allen
3: Daquan Brown
2: Matt Grogan
1: Adam Savion
***21 points vacated