Hofstra (5-11) at Northeastern (9-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Matthews Arena (6,000) -- Boston, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: Hofstra 5-3. Northeastern 2-5. Away Record: Hofstra 0-7, Northeastern 5-1. Neutral Record: Hofstra 0-1, Northeastern 2-1. Conference Record: Hofstra 2-1, Northeastern 4-0. Series Record: Hofstra leads 17-12.
GAMES NOTES: The Northeastern Huskies look to keep their stranglehold on the top spot in the Colonial Athletic Association when they host the Hofstra Pride in a conference clash at Matthews Arena.
Hofstra has traded wins and losses in its last four contests with its most recent decision a 70-59 victory over William & Mary. The Pride are now 5-11 on the year but it has managed to earn two wins in three tries against conference competition. Its failures have largely come on the road this season as the Pride are winless in seven trips out of Hempstead. Hofstra will face George Mason on the road next.
With a 70-59 victory over Towson on Saturday, Northeastern has earned wins in all four of its conference matchups to open the league schedule. Surprisingly, Northeastern has played better on the road than at home with the Huskies just 2-5 at Matthews Arena but 5-1 in true road tests. Northeastern will face Delaware in its next matchup.
A year ago Northeastern swept the season series with the games decided by nine points total. The Huskies still trail the all-time series though, with Hofstra owning a 17-12 edge.
In its win over William & Mary, Hofstra held the Tribe to just 34.5 percent shooting while hitting on 47.9 percent of its own shots. Taran Buie and Stevie Mejia powered the team out of the backcourt with Buie scoring 24 points, while Mejia had 14 points and was an assist shy of a double-double.
The production of Buie and Mejia has been crucial for Hofstra, especially with the loss of Jimmy Hall (12.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Shaquille Stokes (10.0 ppg) who were two of four players suspended at the end of November. Buie (14.6 ppg) is the top scoring option on the roster but has shot just 37 percent from the field. Mejia (10.7 ppg, 4.2 apg) has been equally vexed by erratic shooting (.369 FG percentage) but is second in the conference in assists. The loss of Hall and Stokes has left quite a hole in the paint for Hofstra with Stephen Nwaukoni (6.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg) left as the most effective option. The Pride have scored just 62.4 points per game, while shooting less than 39.4 points per game.
Points off turnovers were key in Northeastern's most recent win over Towson. The Huskies forced 19 miscues from the Tigers which they traded for 26 points, while Towson had just two points off of nine Northeastern turnovers. Northeastern also outscored the Tigers from 3-point range (24-18) and the free-throw line (12-5).
Four different players are scoring in double figures for Northeastern, led by Joel Smith (16.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg). The 6-foot-4 guard has been erratic recently though as he has totaled 23 and 21 points in two of the last five contests, while failing to get into double figures in the other three. Jonathan Lee (13 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.3 apg) has been a revelation after he missed the first nine games of the season. Quincy Ford (12.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Reggie Spencer (11.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) give the Huskies scoring balance from the paint. Overall the Huskies are the third-highest scoring team in the CAA (67.9 ppg), while also ranking third in field goal percentage (.436).
Without much of a frontline presence, the Pride will struggle to deal with Ford and Spencer which will make it that much harder to slow down Smith and Lee on the outside. Expect Northeastern to roll in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northeastern 74, Hofstra 62
01/16 10:33:32 ET