Hofstra's David Imes lets out a shout after big slam...

Hofstra's David Imes lets out a shout after big slam during UNC-Wilmington vs. Hofstra men's basketball. (Jan. 19, 2011) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Saturday marks the beginning of what could be the most important three-game stretch of the season for Hofstra. Yes, we know. We aren’t even half way through the CAA season.

But with the Pride off to a 6-1 start, every win from this point on brings them closer to a top four finish and a first-round bye in the CAA tournament. It’s been several years since the Pride had a bye in the tournament. In fact, not since the Loren Stokes days has Hofstra played so well so early in the conference.

Hofstra is tied with VCU (14-5, 6-1 CAA) for first place and plays at William and Mary on Saturday. It won’t be easy for the Pride. William and Mary (6-12, 2-5 CAA) has won its last two games against Drexel and Towson. William and Mary has also had success in defending Charles Jenkins, limiting the senior guard to a 14.3 scoring average in four games.

But Hofstra has more going for it than Jenkins. Mike Moore had 18 points in a 66-57 win over UNC Wilmington on Wednesday and David Imes added 14. Both players have become valuable options in Hofstra’s offense. Moore is averaging 16.5 points over his last nine games, while Imes has reached double figures in four of his last six games.

Brad Kelleher has also played a key role of late. The Austrailian native went 3-for-4 from three point range on Wednesday and has had at least three games of three or more three-pointers.

The road gets tougher after William and Mary. The Pride hosts James Madison (15-4, 5-2) on Monday and then travels to Virginia on Thursday to take on VCU.

Asking the Pride to win all three games might be too much, but taking of two of three won't be bad.

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