In Hofstra’s loss at JMU last Saturday, Ameen Tanksley and Juan’ya Green combined to shoot 8-of-22 from the field. Coming into this game, it was apparent that the pair of Niagara transfers would need to play better. The redshirt juniors did just that, and their supporting cast stepped up to ensure that the stars wouldn’t have to do too much.
Hofstra played with an energy from the opening tip. It was consistent ball pressure and Tanksley attacking with vigor. It was Moussa Kone and Rokas Gustys planting themselves by the hoop, and gathering any loose carom that came their way. It was Green dishing the rock and Malik Nichols and Brian Bernardi frustrating JMU guards Ron Curry and Joey McLean into multiple turnovers.
Put it all together, and Hofstra’s 74-57 win over JMU was utter domination.
Joe Mihalich said that the battlecry all week was to be a better defensive team. After allowing JMU to shoot 62.8% from the floor a week ago, the Pride limited the Dukes to 37% shooting today. The Pride dominated the paint (46-28) and held a 23-9 advantage for points off turnovers.
Kone posted 18 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Tanksley finished with 16 points. Juan’ya Green had 10 points and eight assists, and Rokas Gustys scored 11 points.
Curry tallied 18 points for JMU. Dimitrije Cabarkapa scored 12 points in 18 minutes, but was relegated to the bench for most of the second half with what hockey writers refer to as a lower body injury.
It was night to forget for a trio of JMU starters. After scoring a career-high 20 points last week versus Hofstra, Jackson Kent scored just seven on 3-of-10 from the field. Joey McLean committed four turnovers, and didn’t play much in the second half. Yohanny Dalembert was hampered by foul trouble all afternoon.
Matt Brady knew his team didn’t play as well as it could have, but gave Hofstra all the credit in the world. Brady also mentioned that JMU would explore postseason options such as the CBI and CIT.
Hofstra knew it had to play defense. I reference this stat almost daily, but it’s important to note that Hofstra is 17-1 when holding opponents below 70 points.
It’ll be tough to hold William & Mary below that mark, but if the Pride commits to getting the ball inside and defends like it did today, tomorrow’s semifinal game is going to be hella good.