So much for Hofstra being in a “rebuilding” mode.
The tumultuous off season Hofstra endured –Tom Pecora leaving for Fordham, Tim Welsh getting fired before coaching a game and the transfer of two key players– is now securely implanted in its rear-view mirror.
Proof of that came last night after Hofstra came away with a 75-69 road win over Drexel. The win was a significant one for the Pride (8-5, 2-0 CAA), which won its second straight conference game.
Coming into Monday’s contest Drexel (9-3, 1-1) had won seven of eight games, including a 52-46 road win over Louisville.
More importantly, the Pride managed to survive despite leading scorer Charles Jenkins (23 points) being saddled with foul problems. Sophomore forward David Imes had a career-high 20 points, including 14 in the second half.
Imes scored eight straight points for Hofstra during a key second-half run when Jenkins was on the bench with his fourth foul.
"David Imes was huge for us today. Not only the points he got, but when he got them," coach Mo Cassara said. "We had Charles sitting with four fouls, and [Imes] stepped up with some big baskets at key times. This game should do a lot for his confidence."
It was a refreshing win for a program at a crossroads. After the university voted to terminate the football program, some wondered if Hofstra was still committed to sports. Cassara has his troops playing at a higher level than most people thought they could.
"This was a really big win for us on the road against a great Drexel team," Hofstra coach Mo Cassara said. "We had to play some unusual lineups at times with foul trouble, but we got contributions from a lot of guys and made the big plays down the stretch."
Hofstra’s recent play can be traced back to the team making a concerted effort to find other ways to score when Jenkins is off or in foul trouble. Fordham transfer Mike Moore, for example, has reached double figures in 10 of 13 games this season and is averaging 14 points.
For Imes (7.8 ppg), it was his fourth double-digit scoring game. And he’s shooting 49 percent from the field.
The Pride has also received promising play from guards Brad Kelleher and Dwan McMillan and freshman forward Stephen Nwaukoni,