Hofstra tailspin hits six straight with loss to Wright State

Mo Cassara expresses his frustration with a call

Mo Cassara expresses his frustration with a call in the second half of a game against Wright State. (Dec. 15, 2012) (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

Travel deals

The frustration for Hofstra continues to grow with each defeat. The most recent was a 63-57 loss to Wright State Saturday at the Mack Sports Complex.

Hofstra has lost six straight, including all four games since the suspension of four players who were arrested on charges of burglarizing laptops and other electronic devices from dorms on the Hempstead campus.

"It's not easy right now for any of us," coach Mo Cassara said. "Obviously, winning cures a lot of difficult things and we've had an opportunity to win, and certainly we're all frustrated on many levels. But I love these guys. They're battling, they're fighting."

After a slow start, Hofstra (3-8) fought back to make it a one-possession game four times in the second half. But the Pride was never able to come through with the shot to take the lead.

"It's one little breakdown, whether it's on the offensive end or the defensive end, and we just can't complete it, and that's why we're struggling to win games," Cassara said. "We just haven't been able to find a way to win, and that's something that we're going to have to really work on."

Jordan Allen had 13 points, shooting 5-for-6, and added seven rebounds to lead the Pride. Stephen Nwaukoni had his second consecutive solid performance with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

But leading scorers Taran Buie and Stevie Mejia totaled 17 points and shot 4-for-20, and the Pride shot only 36 percent from the field.

"We need to do better at offensive execution," said Mejia, who had eight assists. "Knowing each other, knowing where guys like the ball -- just offensive execution we need to really work on."

Wright State (7-3) was led by Cole Darling's 25 points and nine rebounds.

Taking advantage of Hofstra turnovers, the Raiders jumped ahead 12-2 in the first three minutes. The lead peaked at 30-16 with 7:31 left in the first half. An 11-1 run got Hofstra back in the game, but Wright State scored the final five points of the half for a 36-27 lead.

"We get down quick because we turn the ball over two or three times to start the game," Cassara said. "We've done that repeatedly and it's just putting us behind in a tough spot."

Hofstra tightened its defense, holding Wright State without a basket for a 5:14 stretch early in the second half. But the Pride managed only an 8-0 run during the drought, pulling within 40-37 with 11:24 remaining.

Every time Hofstra was on the verge of seizing momentum, the Raiders answered. "The bottom line is we had a lot of good shots tonight, they just didn't go in," Cassara said. "Two or three of those three-pointers go in and it's a different game."

Without the four suspended players, Cassara has been forced to play a pair of walk-ons and a freshman who was expected to redshirt. He'll have plenty of practice time to find the right combinations, as the Pride plays only once -- next Saturday against Tulane in Brooklyn -- before New Year's Day.

"I think we've got to keep tinkering, I think we've got to keep finding ways," Cassara said. "Our margin is just very slim."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday Sports on Facebook

advertisement | advertise on newsday