GAME NOTES: The Hofstra Pride will attempt to win a game for the first time in
more than a month, as they take on the Florida Atlantic Owls in Boca Raton in
a non-conference clash on New Year's Day.
The Pride ripped off three straight wins in mid-November, beating South Dakota
State (66-63), the University of District Columbia (74-59) and Marshall
(103-100 in 2OT), but since then they have gone downhill in a hurry with seven
consecutive losses. Hofstra took on Tulane in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday
Invitational on Dec. 22 are were blown out, 83-62.
While it hasn't nearly played as poorly as Hofstra of late, FAU has also been
sliding of late, losing four of its last five games to fall to 6-8 on the
year. The Owls have split their four games in the Sun Belt Conference, most
recently losing a heartbreaker at ULM on Saturday, 65-64. They will return to
league play on Thursday when they host Louisiana.
Hofstra holds a 5-2 advantage over FAU in the all-times series, but the Owls
captured a 62-60 win in Hempstead, New York last season.
By the numbers, Hofstra has been one of the worst performing teams in the
Colonial Athletic Association this season, ranking last in the league in both
field goal percentage (.381) and scoring defense (75.2 ppg), while putting up
just 63.8 ppg. The Pride put forth another poor effort in their 21-point loss
to Tulane, shooting less than 38 percent from the field while allowing the
Green Wave to hit nearly 50 percent of their total shots. Taran Buie was the
lone Hofstra player to score in double-digits with 15 points, but he negated
much of that production by turning the ball over seven times. Buie is one of
the league's top scorers at 15.3 ppg, albeit with only a .381 field goal
percentage. Stevie Mejia adds 9.8 ppg and 4.2 apg while leading the team with
FAU led ULM by as many as 10 points late in the second half, but it slowly let
that advantage slip away until it allowed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds to play
and suffered the nail-biting defeat as a result. The Owls shot a lofty 54.8
percent from the field in the game, but they were hindered by 20 turnovers.
Continuing his outstanding season was Greg Gantt, who shot 10-of-19 from the
floor, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, on his way to 25 points. He now
averages 22.3 ppg, which is not only tops in the Sun Belt but fifth in the
nation, and his 43 3-point field goals is 12th-most nationally. Pablo Bertone
was also impressive in defeat, making 5-of-7 from the field for 19 points,
while Jordan McCoy chipped in with 14 points. Stefan Moody scores 13.6 ppg,
and while Bertone averages just 8.6 ppg, he has been playing much better of
late, netting 18.5 ppg in the last two contests.
Neither of these teams has been a model of consistency, but FAU has shown much
more promise thanks to the scoring output of Gantt. Playing at home, the Owls
shouldn't have an issue dismissing the Pride.