Hofstra gets much-needed win
The last five minutes of Sunday night's game between Hofstra and Old Dominion seemed to take its toll on Pride men's basketball coach Mo Cassara.
With his team holding a double-digit lead, Cassara pleaded for his players to slow the pace and run clock. He grew more despondent each time a player failed to heed his advice, instead missing a quick shot that gave Old Dominion an opportunity to inch closer.
Despite the spike in Cassara's blood pressure, the Monarchs were unable to mount a comeback and Hofstra emerged with a much-needed 70-59 victory at the Mack Sports Complex.
"We just needed a win," Cassara said. "I think we didn't really execute down the stretch real well, but we found a way to win, which I'm proud of."
The Pride had lost four straight and 11 of 12, but Old Dominion began the season 2-20, so something had to give.
Hofstra seized control with a 14-1 spurt to take a 64-49 lead with 2:47 remaining. Although the Pride (7-22, 4-12 Colonial Athletic Association) didn't close the door in the style Cassara had hoped, Old Dominion (4-24, 2-14) helped by shooting 37.5 percent and committing 19 turnovers. David Imes led Hofstra with 18 points, including 15 in the second half. Taran Buie had 15 points and Stevie Mejia had 10 points and 10 assists.
The Pride shot 44.1 percent from the field, a major improvement from the 26.8 percent they shot in a 79-50 loss to George Mason on Wednesday.
"That was the first game I thought all year that we weren't competitive, so we needed desperately tonight to get a win to get a little confidence," Cassara said.
After Daquan Brown committed three fouls and two turnovers in two first-half minutes -- Cassara referred to it as "the worst two minutes in the history of the program" -- Brown recorded all of his six points and 11 rebounds in the second half. The reinforcement on the backboards was pivotal, as the Monarchs held a 21-9 rebounding edge in the first half to build a 31-30 halftime lead.