Northeastern (6-14) at Hofstra (7-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday January 25, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mack Sports Complex (5,023) -- Hempstead, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Northeastern 2-5, Hofstra 5-4. Away Record: Northeastern 2-6, Hofstra 1-7. Neutral Record: Northeastern 2-3, Hofstra 1-1. Conference Record: Northeastern 3-3, Hofstra 3-1. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 17-16.
GAME NOTES: The Northeastern Huskies conclude their two-game road swing on Saturday when they visit the Mack Sports Complex for a Colonial Athletic Association tilt against the Hofstra Pride.
Northeastern nearly let a 20-point lead slip away on Wednesday before David Walker drained a shot from beyond the arc with three seconds remaining to lift the Huskies to a 57-54 victory over Towson, which had been previously unbeaten in league play. The Huskies held a 40-21 advantage on the scoreboard at the intermission, but the Tigers managed to even the score with only six seconds left in regulation. Thanks to Walker's late game heroics, Northeastern is now 6-14 overall including a 3-3 mark in the conference standings.
The Pride are coming off an impressive 77-60 decision over William & Mary. Hofstra was leading by three early in the second period before it went on a 17-0 run to pull away for the double-digit win. Coach Joe Mihalich's first year in Hempstead since arriving from Niagara got off to a slow start with only four wins through the team's first 15 games. However, Hofstra has won three of its last four to rise to a 3-1 conference record, which is tied for second with Towson.
This will be the 34th bout in history between these schools on the hardwood. Hofstra holds a 17-16 all-time series lead in the rivalry that dates back to the 1949-50 campaign. Northeastern has won four consecutive games versus the Pride.
The Huskies have struggled on the offensive end recently with an average of only 57.3 ppg over their last four outings. Scott Eatherton led Northeastern against Towson with 19 points and nine rebounds while Zach Stahl tallied 10 points to go along with nine boards. Walker finished with eight points, five rebounds and four steals as the team earned its second win in three outings. Eatherton had registered more double-doubles than any other player in the CAA to this point and leads NU with 16.9 ppg and 10.3 rpg. David Walker is second in the scoring column for the Huskies at 11.7 ppg, while Reggie Spencer is third with 9.5 ppg and second in rebounding (7.3).
Hofstra will counter Eatherton with another one of the CAA's top performers in graduate senior forward Zeke Upshaw, who netted 21 points in the team's victory over the Tribe. Upshaw had plenty of help as Dion Nesmith added a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists, while Stephen Nwaukoni finished with a double-double of his own with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Hofstra finished with a 41-31 advantage on the boards. W&M was able to outscore the Pride in the paint, 28-18, but were outscored at the charity stripe, 19-6. Hofstra has scored 75 ppg in CAA games and held its league rivals to an average of 70.2 ppg.
Although Eatherton has been a force for NU this season, he will have trouble dominating Hofstra, which has a handful of capable players in its frontcourt. The Pride were expected to have a rebuilding season before adding a pair of talented graduate transfers Upshaw (19.2 ppg) and Nesmith (12.6 ppg, 4.2 apg), who have given Mihalich a lot to work with in his inaugural season in Hempstead.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hofstra 73, Northeastern 68
01/25 10:24:06 ET