Hofstra knows that it needs to be just about perfect to make everything work out just right in the end. Sometimes even that isn't enough. The Pride was just fine for 39 minutes and 59 and a half seconds of the 40-minute game, and it wasn't so bad for the rest of it either. Things just didn't work out.
Drexel's Frantz Massenat stepped through two Hofstra defenders, who appeared to have had him trapped in the backcourt, and fired a shot from the far side of half-court. It went through the net just as the buzzer sounded to send Hofstra the toughest loss in a hard year, 55-52, at the Mack Sports Complex Wednesday night.
There was a mix of anger and disbelief for the Pride, with an emphasis on the former. Coach Mo Cassara, his staff and players argued that Massenat had traveled in order to get the shot away, past Stevie Mejia and Taran Buie -- the latter having made one of the team's big shots of the year by sinking a tying three-pointer with a hand in his face and only 5.9 seconds left.
But the officials ruled that Massenat's play was not a violation, which was not the best news Hofstra (5-14, 2-4 CAA) has heard lately.
"Unfortunately, that's the way games end sometimes," Cassara said. "I thought he traveled when he stepped through a guy, maybe he didn't. Once we tapped the ball, I thought we had him. I don't know whether our guys split and gave him too easy a look. We double-teamed the ball, made him catch it in front of us, made him bobble it. We did everything we had to do except obviously he got too good a look at the basket."
Massenat, a junior who finished with 14 points for Drexel (7-11, 3-3), said, "You see it in moves like all the time, the time goes off and then you see it go in. I tried to step through. I've been taught on traps to step through, and I did."
Yes, but did he travel? "I really don't know," he said.
It spoiled another inspired night for Hofstra, which is short-handed because of suspensions and an injury. Buie bounced back from a 1-for-8 start and scored 29 points, tying a team record with seven three-pointers.
"It's a tough way to lose, obviously, when somebody hits a 50-foot shot on you after a tough game like that," he said. "Like coach said, though, we're resilient. We'll be back in practice, competing, tomorrow."