Hofstra (1-3) vs. Hartford (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mohegan Sun Arena (9,518) -- Uncasville, Connecticut. Television: None. Home Record: Hofstra 1-1, Hartford 1-0. Away Record: Hofstra 0-2, Hartford 1-2. Neutral Record: Hofstra 0-0, Hartford 0-1. Conference Record: Hofstra 0-0, Hartford 0-0. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 11-5.
GAME NOTES: The Hartford Hawks stay close to home today as they tangle with the Hofstra Pride at Mohegan Sun Arena as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tournament.
After losing the first two games of the season the Hawks bounced back with victories over Fairfield and Fairleigh Dickinson, but four nights ago the team dropped back under .500 when it suffered an 87-48 setback to third-ranked Louisville on the road.
Hofstra, which was also dumped by the Cardinals on the road 11 days ago in a lopsided 97-69 final, has now bowed in back-to-back contests with a 74-63 overtime setback to Richmond on Tuesday.
In terms of the all-time series between these two teams, the Pride lead by a count of 11-5, winning five straight thanks to a 92-58 thrashing of the Hawks in the most recent encounter back in 2000.
Both teams will be back in action on Sunday as well, facing off against either Belmont or Holy Cross, depending on Saturday's outcomes.
Shooting 57.1 percent from the field in the first half, while limiting the Spiders to just 37.5 percent, Hofstra appeared well on its way to picking up another win earlier this week. However, the Pride collapsed in the second half with just five made field goals, went to overtime and failed to convert a single field goal attempt in the period. Zeke Upshaw was really the only bright spot for the Pride as he posted a game-high 37 points and pulled down nine rebounds, but he also registered seven of the unit's 19 turnovers as well. Off the bench, Stephen Nwaukoni dropped in eight points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Upshaw, shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point range through four games, paces the Pride with his 20.8 ppg. Upshaw has been a constant fixture at the free-throw line where he has converted all but four of his 32 tries, which means the rest of his teammates have combined to shoot only 40-of-68 at the charity stripe. Dion Nesmith pitches in with 12.5 ppg and is tops with 17 assists, although he has also turned the ball over 18 times.
Mark Nwakamma scored a team-best 16 points in 35 minutes of action against Louisville in the last outing, but still the Hawks were nowhere close to being competitive. Hartford shot only 33.3 percent from the field in the first half, 4-of-17 beyond the arc for the game and turned the ball over 25 times in the lopsided outcome. Reserve Yasin Kolo accounted for 12 points and eight rebounds in the losing cause.
Not surprisingly, Nwakamma is the only double-digit scorer on the roster to this point in the campaign, putting up 18.2 ppg on the strength of his 52.4 percent shooting from the field. Nwakamma is also first on the glass with better than seven rebounds per game, although he is averaging less than two per contest at the offensive end of the floor. As a unit, the Hawks are one of the weaker rebounding programs in the country with just 29.6 per game.
Hofstra might not be a well-rounded squad, but with Upshaw the team certainly has the upper hand this weekend, at least against Hartford.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hofstra 72, Hartford 65
11/23 10:32:58 ET