Hofstra loses to Purdue despite juggled lineup

Hofstra guard Stevie Mejia brings the ball downcourt Hofstra guard Stevie Mejia brings the ball downcourt against Siena in the bracket buster men's basketball game. (Feb. 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Hofstra coach Mo Cassara changed three-fifths of his starting lineup against Purdue on Sunday, two days after his team's season opener. But the result was the same.

Purdue used a dominating first half to cruise to an 83-54 win over Hofstra at Mackey Arena as part of the 2K Sports Classic. The Pride (0-2) trailed 42-17 at halftime after committing 12 turnovers and being outrebounded 24-7.

"In the first half we couldn't get the ball from side to side because of the way they played the passing lanes, and it led to turnovers," said Hofstra sophomore forward Moussa Kone, who scored 12 points.

"I thought their big guys really beat us up on the glass," said Cassara, whose team was outrebounded 50-22 and shot 19-for-55. "Every time we made a little bit of a semi-run, we couldn't finish any plays around the basket, which is a credit to how hard they play and their size and strength."

Pride point guard Stevie Mejia and forward David Imes were holdovers in the starting lineup against Purdue, joined by Kone, freshman forward Jimmy Hall (17 points, 7-for-11 shooting) and sophomore guard Shaquille Stokes. Jordan Allen, Stephen Nwaukoni and Kentrell Washington had started the first game, a 91-62 loss to Monmouth.

"We have a very young team and a lot of new pieces," Cassara said. "I think that starting lineup is going to be changing quite a bit because we have a lot of guys that are going to continue to learn . . . We'll continue to move guys around, and I think that will continue for a little while until we get a little bit of consistency."

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Hofstra had four freshmen on the court at one point, but experienced reinforcements are on the way. Transfers Taran Buie (Penn State) and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (Connecticut) will be eligible to play in the Pride's home opener against South Dakota State on Friday after serving two-game suspensions for violating team rules.

"I think we'll continue to be a little bit of a work in progress," Cassara said, "but having one guy who has played in the national championship and another guy that was a Big Ten player will certainly help us have a little bit of experience. Right now, we really just lack experience."

Stokes, a transfer from Hawaii, scored six points in 20 minutes before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. Cassara said he had plans to play Stokes more extensively against Purdue until he suffered the shoulder injury, which will be re-evaluated Monday. Purdue (1-1) had six players score at least eight points, led by Anthony Johnson with 14 and Sandi Marcius with 11. Ronnie Johnson had nine points and seven assists.

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