HOFSTRA 62, NEW HAMPSHIRE 57
HOFSTRA SEASON RECORDS: 9-3, 1-0 CAA
PLACE IN CAA STANDINGS: tied for 1st
JENKINS SEASON AVERAGES: 19.0 pts, 5.2 reb, 4.3 ast, 3.4 to
Hofstra Head Coach Tom Pecora was so sick that he had to leave the bench and let his assistant coaches take over for a while late in the first half on Saturday afternoon, as Hofstra paid a visit to former America East rival New Hampshire (3-7).
Chances are, Pecora just had a cold, but "cold" in another sense of the word might go hand-in-hand with the cause of Pecora's illness, after the coach witnessed his team having yet another frigid shooting game, which also saw Charkes Jenkins' recent offensive struggles continue.
After losing to Iona last Tuesday, a less-than-pleased Pecora said he'd make sure his team was focused and ready in New Hampshire.
Initially, it seemed that the message got through. The Pride jumped out to a 17-1 lead, making half of its first 10 shots while UNH missed its first 7 shots.
Jenkins didn't play much of a role in that start, picking up 2 quick fouls in the first 5 minutes, as he went to the bench shooting 0-for-3 from the field.
The Wildcats quickly took advantage, going on a 7-2 run, forcing Pecora to put Jenkins back in. The run became 10-3 before Jenkins hit a spot-up three to put Hofstra back up by double digits, 23-11, with 7:26 left in the half.
But, Jenkins wasn't able to stay out of foul trouble in the first half. After picking up his 3rd foul with 5:01 left in the opening half, he returned to the bench, returning only for Hofstra's final possession of the half, during which he missed a jumper to finish the first half shooting just 1-for-6 from the field, including 0-for-4 from inside the three-point arc). Jenkins didn't commit a foul the rest of the game.
UNH closed the half on a 23-13 run to pull within 30-24 by halftime. That run grew to 39-17, as UNH took its biggest lead, 40-34, with 12:48 left in the game. By that point, Hofstra had missed 9 of its first 10 shots of the second half. Jenkins started the second half committing 2 turnovers and missing his 3 three shots.
On the down side, Jenkins finished the game making just 3 of 15 shots from the field, extending a shooting slump over the past 4 1/2 games to 17-for-63 (29%) from the field. After leading Hosftra in scoring the first 8 games this season, Jenkins failed to do so for the 3rd time in the past 4 games.
Opposing teams of late have been keying on Jenkins, forcing his teammates to beat them, and this game was no different. That's had a lot to do with Jenkins' recent shooting struggles. As a team, Hofstra shot only 35% (18-for-52) from the field.
On the plus side, Jenkins finished with 12 points, scoring in double figures for the 27th straight time and for the 39th time in 41 career games. Despite his problems from the floor, Jenkins' ability to get to the line is what helped turn the game.
Jenkins did most of his damage during a key run late in the game. Down 45-41, Jenkins scored 9 points during a 12-6 run, taking all 6 of his FT attempts in the game during that run, making 5. That put the Pride up 53-51, with 4:57 left.
With 2:31 left, Jenkins assisted on a jumper that put Hofstra up for good, 58-57, before the Pride escaped down the stretch with free throws, ending a two-game losing streak.
That was the best medicine at that point for Coach Pecora.
But he, his staff, and Jenkins must find ways to get Jenkins easier looks and get the overall offense flowing, and they'd better figure that out soon, because conference play in the CAA is up next, on Saturday, when Hofstra hosts long-time rival (going back to the America East days) Drexel.