Hofstra (4-8) at Tulane (7-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Devlin Fieldhouse (3,600) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Hofstra 3-4, Tulane 6-3. Away Record: Hofstra 0-3, Tulane 1-1. Neutral Record: Hofstra 1-1, Tulane 0-3. Conference Record: Hofstra 0-0, Tulane 0-0. Series Record: Tulane leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Hofstra Pride take aim at their first true road win of the season on Thursday as they invade Devlin Fieldhouse for non-conference action with the Tulane Green Wave.
Hofstra ended a two-game skid with a 75-64 win over NJIT on Monday. The victory lifted the Pride to a 4-8 overall record, which includes an 0-3 mark in true road tests. Coach Joe Mihalich's team hit on 48 percent of its field goal attempts including a 10-of-22 clip from behind the 3-point line to get past the Highlanders. Hofstra has been torched on the defensive end of the floor where it is surrendering 73.8 ppg to rank eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association in points allowed per game.
Tulane had a two-game win streak snapped on Dec. 28 when it suffered a 72-41 loss to Kansas State as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival at the Barclays Center. The Wildcats outscored Tulane, 14-3, in points off turnovers and, 26-12, in the paint. The Green Wave converted a season-low 28.6 percent of their field goal attempts in the contest. Coach Ed Conroy's team is 6-3 at home this season despite averaging only 68.7 ppg to rank 13th in the Conference USA.
The Green Wave downed Hofstra, 83-62, last season at the Barclays Center to improve to 3-1 against the Pride all-time.
Hofstra had a lot to replace from last season with only five returners back to the unit. The Pride's offensive attack revolves around the duo of Zeke Upshaw and Dion Nesmith, who are scoring 17.7 and 14.3 ppg, respectively. Nesmith had game-highs of 20 points and five assists against NJIT. The graduate senior guard has led Hofstra in scoring in each of the last two games. Upshaw finished second in the scoring column versus NJIT with 15 points, while adding seven boards and three assists. Freshman guard Jamall Robinson also had a solid showing with 11 points and a career-high eight rebounds. Robinson is now producing just under 10 ppg.
Tulane has a solid trio spearheading the charge in Louis Dabney, Jonathan Stark and Jay Hook, who are all in the top 10 among C-USA players in points per game. Dabney is second in the conference at 19.1 ppg, while Stark is seventh overall and second among rookies at 17.1 ppg. Stark tallied 10 points but also had seven turnovers for Tulane in the loss to KSU. No other Green Wave player reached double-figures. Hook, who is posting 15.4 ppg, averaged only 1.8 ppg last season as a sophomore. Hook has scored 39 points over his past four outings while shooting just 11-of-31 from the field over that span. The Green Wave's lack of an inside presence has been hurting them all season long as their average of only 2.6 blocks per outing is one of the worst in the C-USA.
Both of these teams will struggle once conference play begins. This is a good chance for both sides to pick up a victory over a struggling opponent to get back on track. Hofstra's streakiness makes it a dangerous visitor, but its poor performance on the road to this point indicates the game will be Tulane's to lose.
Sports Network PRedicted Outcome: Tulane 69, Hofstra 66
01/02 10:31:24 ET