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Hofstra clinches CAA bye

Hofstra's Charles Jenkins shoots the game-winning three pointer

Hofstra's Charles Jenkins shoots the game-winning three pointer in overtime against William & Mary. (Feb. 15, 2011) Credit: Photo by Jim McIsaac

Hofstra's Charles Jenkins made some magic with the two big three-pointers he hit in the Pride's 81-78 overtime win over William and Mary Tuesday night at the Mack Sports Complex -- one with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime and a buzzer-beater (pictured) from at least 30 feet to win it at the end.

Now, the question is whether Jenkins and the Pride can manufacture enough magic to win some games in Richmond at the Colonial Athletic Association tournament March 4-7. The win over William and Mary kept the Pride tied for second with Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth with a 12-4 conference record and clinched one of the first-round byes that goes to the top four seeds.

ODU and VCU both beat Hofstra head-to-head, so, the Pride would have to win its remaining two CAA games at North Carolina-Wilmington and home against Delaware and hope the teams tied with them lose one in order to move up from the fourth seed. Even so, escaping a first-round game on March 4 is a big step for the Pride, which opens with a quarterfinal game on March 5.

ESPN currently is projecting CAA leader George Mason and ODU as NCAA tournament teams. Most services that track the RPI ratings currently have Hofstra at No. 84. So, that means anything short of winning the CAA tourney title to secure the automatic NCAA bid would leave the Pride on the outside looking in. But things can change. Maybe a win Saturday at Wright State in an ESPN Bracketbuster game will help, although Wright State is farther down the RPI list around No. 106.

New York Sports