Zeke Upshaw, Dion Nesmith lead Hofstra past William & Mary

Hofstra's Zeke Upshaw shoots a jumper over William Hofstra's Zeke Upshaw shoots a jumper over William & Mary's Sean Sheldon during the second half at Mack Sports Complex. (Jan. 22. 2014) Photo Credit: James Escher

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No matter how many times coach Joe Mihalich hammered it home, his Hofstra players couldn't have been confident coming into conference play. Their only quantitative ways to predict future results? A losing non-conference record and being picked last in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll.

"I'm not sure if the guys really believed in themselves, that they could win," Mihalich said. "I believed it all along."

The Pride doesn't have to think it can win in the CAA anymore. It has proven it.

Hofstra routed William & Mary, 77-60, on Wednesday night at the Mack Sports Complex. It might not have been the Pride's biggest win of the season -- beating College of Charleston on Jan. 11 started this ball rolling -- but it was a pivotal one. Hofstra (7-12, 3-1 CAA) has its best CAA start since 2010-11, when it went 4-0.

In Mihalich's first season as coach, the Pride could be a legitimate conference force.