When Hofstra scored an 83-75 upset of Iona back on Dec. 29 to record its third straight win, it seemed the Pride had turned a corner heading into Colonial Athletic Association play. But four more losses since then to go with an earlier loss in the conference opener to James Madison in early December have dropped the pride to 0-5 as they head south to play tough Old Dominion on Saturday.
Perhaps it's no accident the losing streak coincides with a groin injury leading scorer Mike Moore (pictured) suffered after a 24-point game against the Gaels. Moore had a couple of strong road games last week at Delaware and North Carolina-Wilmington, but he was held to 14 points in a previous home loss to VCU and managed only nine points on 4-of-11 shooting in a 64-62 loss to Northeastern Wednesday night at the Mack Sports Complex.
At one point late in the second half with Hofstra clinging to a 56-54 lead, Moore hoisted a three-pointer from well beyond the arc with close to 30 seconds remaining on the shot clock. It's not like him to take such an ill-advised shot, but it might be an indication that it's tough for him to go full speed to get to the spots where he's most effective. It was easier on his body to simply fire away.
"He's hampered a little bit," Hofstra coach Mo Cassara said of Moore. "He's got a groin injury, and [Northeastern] did a great job of making other guys score."
In the second half, Hofstra got plenty of offense from the supporting cast. Nat Lester had 14 of his 19 points, David Imes had 7 of his 11, and Stephen Nwaukoni had 7 of his 10. The Pride shot 60 percent from the field, getting to the rim on 12 of its 15 baskets.
But Northeastern scored almost as easily, shooting 58.3 percent in the second half. At one point, the two teams scored on 14 straight possessions in the middle of the second half. The problem is the Huskies kept going right to the end, scoring on 17 of 19 possessions before missing the front end of a one-and-one foul shot with 4 seconds left.
"It was a challenging and frustrating loss," Cassara said. "We did a lot of good things…But we had defensive breakdowns with the game on the line.
"We've been talking a lot about it lately. It's making multiple efforts. We do a good job defensively for one or two actions, and then, we let up. It's hampered us all year."
Three of Hofstra's five conference losses have come by a total of five points, so, the Pride isn't that far from being on the winning side of the ledger. But they're in a hole now as they head to tough Old Dominion on Saturday, and it's getting deeper by the game.
"We've been stringing together good practices, and our intensity and focus is good," Cassara said.
Point guard Dwan McMillan added: "We're not going to stop fighting. There's a lot of basketball left."