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Hofstra back on track

Hofstra's Moussa Kone looks to pass against Marshall

Hofstra's Moussa Kone looks to pass against Marshall during their NCAA men's basketball game at the Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead. (Nov. 18, 2012) (Credit: Barry Sloan)

Mo Cassara couldn’t believe it. Well, he could believe it, but he didn’t expect it.

Hofstra was dead in the water last week after dropping their first two games to Monmouth and Purdue by 29 points each.

A lot changed since that Purdue loss and it only took a week for the Pride to turn things around as they came back with three straight wins last weekend. The Pride capped the three-day weekend with a 103-100 double overtime win over Marshall.

Said Cassara: “What a difference a week makes…A week ago we were 0-2. We were in West Lafayette Indiana. We couldn’t make a basket. We lost two games by 29 points. We were almost in disarray.”

That misfortune turned into good fortune in short order as Hofstra (3-2) dispatched South Dakota State (66-63), the University of the District of Columbia (74-59) and Marshall.

“It’s a credit to these guys. I’ve never seen a team in a week come back and play the way that we did,” said Cassara. “It’s a credit to my staff. It’s a credit to everybody here. We beat probably three NCAA Tournament teams. One of them was obviously a Division II team, but we beat two teams that you may very well be seeing playing in March, winning their league or picked to win their league.”

It’s worth noting that the Pride played their first two games without Penn State transfer Taran Buie and Connecticut transfer Jamal Coombs-McDaniel who both were serving a two-game suspension.

Coombs-McDaniel didn’t play over the weekend due to an ankle injury, but Buie returned to the lineup against South Dakota State and scored 14 points. He added 12 points and nine points over the next two games.

Think the addition of Buie didn’t help? Hofstra struggled with depth in the backcourt last season. That shouldn’t be an issue this year with Stevie Mejia, Shaquille Stokes and Buie. In fact, the trio combined for 57 points in Sunday’s win over Marshall.

Aside from the three wins, playing three games in three days was also an issue Cassara talked about.

“I think when you have three games in three days…you can just see the physical and mental exhaustion on so many guys,” said Cassara. “To be honest with you we were in a little better shape.”