Basketball is a simple game. And it can be a cruel game. No amount of hard work or preparation can overcome a shooting performance like Hofstra had against George Mason last night. The Pride missed its first 13 shots and hit just 26 percent (15-for-56) for the game, falling, 79-50, at the Mack Sports Complex.
It was Hofstra's 11th loss in its last 12 games.
"It's a tough feeling. As a former player you want it to just go in so badly," Hofstra coach Mo Cassara said of his team's shooting woes. "We're trying to do some different things and get out [and run]. But we've got to do a better job of executing. We're not doing a great job of moving the ball and getting great shots."
Already severely shorthanded, Hofstra lost starting center Stephen Nwaukoni, the team's leading rebounder, to a shoulder injury in Monday's loss to Drexel. The Pride dressed just seven scholarship players last night.
Hofstra's first possession of the game was a sign of things to come. The Pride (6-22, 3-12 CAA) got three good looks but couldn't convert. Their first points came with 13:30 to go in the half and first field goal occurred with 10:23 left to cut the deficit to 16-7. Hofstra had more turnovers (five) in the first half than field goals (four).
Hofstra's backcourt of Stevie Mejia and Taran Buie, the team's leading scorers, combined to shoot 7-for-34. Buie is mired in a slump, shooting 22 percent in his last nine games.
"My confidence is definitely still there," Buie said. "The ball's not going in the hole right now but I'm spending extra time [shooting] before and after practice. It's not a confidence thing or a technique thing -- it's just not falling for me right now."
Buie's layup with 13:09 left cut the margin to 15, but George Mason (16-11, 9-6) scored on its next 10 possessions to push the lead to 32. Jonathan Arledge led all scorers with 20 points.
"This was the first time we didn't have that fight or zip we've had every game," Cassara said. "Even games we've lost we've battled. Tonight we didn't have it. It's a combination of us being tired, not playing well, and [George Mason] playing well."