Hofstra (3-9) at Florida Atlantic (6-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 1, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: FAU Arena (5,000) -- Boca Raton, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: Hofstra 3-3, FAU 3-2. Away Record: Hofstra 0-5, FAU 2-6. Neutral Record: Hofstra 0-1, FAU 1-0. Conference Record: Hofstra 0-0, FAU 2-2. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 5-2.
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 20 steals.
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.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida Atlantic 75, Hofstra 64
01/01 10:32:08 ET