HOFSTRA 61, STONY BROOK 56
HOFSTRA SEASON RECORDS: 7-1, 1-0 CAA
PLACE IN CAA STANDINGS: tied for 1st
JENKINS SEASON AVERAGES: 21.8 pts, 5.1 reb, 4.3 ast, 3.1 to
Despite a poor second half at Stony Brook, it was a good day and evening for Jenkins and the Pride.
Earlier in the day, ESPN.com featured a short blurb on Jenkins in its "Hidden Gems" section, praising the good starts to the 2008-09 season for both Jenkins and Hofstra. So, nice to see Jenkins and the team he's leading already get some national pub, and it's not even halfway through December yet.
Later, the Pride traveled out east on the Island, to play Stony Brook, which came in 5-3 with 4 straight wins, though against some weak competition.
A Jenkins jumper 2:22 in helped Hofstra start fast, 7-1. The Pride extended that to as much as 14 (30-16) in the first half before the Seawolves (what IS a seawolf, by the way?!) closed to within 37-26 at halftime. Jenkins had a nice half with a team-high 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting to lead Hofstra in shooting 55% (16-29) in the half.
Jenkins scored the first 5 points of the second half on a free throw and a couple of layups to give Hofstra it's biggest lead of the game, 42-26, with 17:51 left in the game.
All looks fine at that point, right? Jenkins and the rest of the Pride, coming off their season-high 90-point explosion at Towson, shooting very well, the offense clicking, big lead. They'll cruise to a 7th straight win, no? Well, Hofstra did win its 7th straight, but it was ugly from this point, forward.
Hofstra's next field goal came 7:50 later, on a layup by Lithuanian forward Arminus Urbutis, to put Hofstra up 49-36, with 10:01 left. The Pride's last field goal of the game was a three-pointer by Cornelius Vines, giving Hofstra a 53-43 lead with 6:34 to go.
That was it. Just those TWO field goals (in 17 attempts) for the Pride in nearly the final 18 minutes, after starting the game shooting 53% (18-34) from the floor. Part of the problem Hofstra not getting the ball to its best offensive player, of course, Jenkins. He was 7-for-10 from the field when Hofstra built its 16-point lead, but after that point, he only took 3 shots from the floot, missing them all.
Though the Pride shot just 18% (4-22) from the field in the second half, Hofstra and Jenkins were able to compensate enough for that by getting to the line (a place where the Pride also struggled, aside from Jenkins). Amazingly, Hofstra took all 27 of its free throws in the second half. Plenty of opportunities to make up for the poor field goal shooting, but plenty of missed opportunities, as the Pride only made 15 of those 27 free throws. Still, Jenkins made 7 of 10 at the line for the game to compliment his 7 of 13 from the field, for a game-high tying 21 points on the night, along with pulling down a season-high 7 rebounds. Hofstra struggled handling the ball though, and Jenkins was part of that. He had 5 of the Pride's 15 turnovers, and he had only 2 assists (only the second time this season that Jenkins had more turnovers than assists), as Hofstra only had 6 assists for the game.
Jenkins' two biggest free throws came with :36 left, to giving Hofstra a little breathing room after Stony Brook closed to within 56-53 in front of a sellout crowd of 1,680 at the intimate Pritchard Gymnasium (where the game was played while Stony Brook renovates its larger on-campus arena in which it usually plays).
The poor finish is a bad sign offensively for Jenkins' team, but not necessarily a bad thing for Coach Pecora, as he will surely use Hofstra's play in the second half to get his players' attention for the next game, at home, on Saturday afternoon, a 4pm tip-off, to be televised on MSG+ Network). And, Pecora, Jenkins, and the rest of the Pride will gladly take the 7-1 start to the season no matter how they got it.
I'll be back at The Mack on Saturday to catch Jenkins and Hofstra as they look to shoot down another local opponent, St. Francis, as the Pride seeks its 8th consecutive win. Talk to you then.