Hofstra's Charles Jenkins celebrates after hitting the game-winning three pointer...

Hofstra's Charles Jenkins celebrates after hitting the game-winning three pointer at the buzzer of overtime against William & Mary. (Feb. 15, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Somehow, Charles Jenkins figured out a way to outdo himself.

He may not have played his best in the early part of last night's CAA contest against William & Mary, but Hofstra's all-time leading scorer stepped up - not once, but twice - in the clutch, amazing himself and the crowd.

Jenkins (28 points) hit a three-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, then drained a 30-footer at the final buzzer to seal an 81-78 victory, clinching a top-four spot in the playoffs and a first-round bye for the Pride, which also got some help from a Drexel loss to UNC Wilmington.

Mike Moore had 25 points and eight rebounds for Hofstra (18-9, 12-4) and David Imes 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Every day in practice, coach Mo Cassara would line up a rack of basketballs at halfcourt and emphatically blow his whistle to make their "win-the- game" simulation all the more real. Each time, Jenkins failed to hit one at the buzzer. The 6-3 senior laughed as he divulged the secret after the game.

"Never have I seen anything like that," Moore said of Jenkins' clutch baskets.

William & Mary guard Julian Boatner sank two free throws to take a 67-66 lead with 21.6 seconds left in regulation.

Jenkins went strong to the hoop on the Pride's next possession, but was blocked by 6-9 forward Marcus Kitts.

Two more free throws by Brandon Britt gave William & Mary (7-20; 3-13) a three-point cushion with 9.4 seconds left - setting the stage for Jenkins' heroics.

With a defender in his face, he drained a three-pointer at the top of the circle, tying the score at 69 with 2.7 seconds left. But Jenkins wasn't done.

William & Mary tied the score at 78 on a pair of foul shots by McDowell with 4.5 seconds left in overtime, but surprisingly allowed Jenkins to get his hands on the inbounds pass - and he made them pay.

"I had four seconds to get up the court, which is a lifetime," said Jenkins, who also had a block on Britt to preserve a one-point Hofstra lead with 13.1 seconds left.

Jenkins spotted up well behind the three-point line and sank a 30-foot jumper, then headed straight for the "Lions Den'' cheering section.

"This definitely ranks at the top," he said of his winning basket. "I've never hit a shot at the buzzer.''

It wasn't supposed to be this hard for Hofstra. The Pride, which led 15-3, trailed 34-26 at the half, shooting only 34.8 percent. Though not pleased with the lack of focus and sense of urgency his team displayed early on, Cassara said he was "thrilled" with the comeback from a 13-point deficit.

"This team never thinks we're going to lose the game," he said.

Asked for his thoughts on Hofstra's chances in the CAA playoffs in Richmond, Va., Cassara said: "I wouldn't put anything past this group."

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