Contrary to what you may have heard, Ameen Tanksley was not perfect Tuesday night.
He actually missed two foul shots in Hofstra's 88-74 non-league win over Norfolk State. Except for those two indiscretions, everything the 6-5 junior forward threw toward the basket went in as he finished with a career-high 30 points.
Tanksley sank all of his nine field-goal attempts, including five three-point shots. He is 20-for-25 from three-point range in the Pride's last four games. His "imperfect'' night was marred by 7-for-9 shooting from the free-throw line.
"Ameen's line is just so efficient,'' Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. "He only took nine shots and got 30 points. That's pretty good right there. When shooters take good shots, they're going to make them, and he took good shots.''
The transfer from Niagara University had an inkling he was in for a special night early on.
"I knew from the beginning during the shootaround I was feeling good about myself,'' he said. "I focused and I told myself if I get an open look, I'm going to make them. I knew from the beginning I was going to make a lot of shots.''
Tanksley started both halves strongly. He scored 10 points in the opening 3:54 to stake Hofstra (5-2) to a 14-5 advantage. After Norfolk (4-4) cut the deficit to 43-40 at halftime, Tanksley collected 10 points in the opening 6:39 of the second half as the Pride grabbed a 59-49 lead.
"This team is a New York-Philly thing,'' said Tanksley, who along with teammate Juan'ya Green, is from Philadelphia, and five Norfolk State players are from New York. "We knew these kids from [amateur ball], so we already had a grudge against them. We had to come out and show them.''
Tanksley scored his last points off two free throws to give Hofstra a 61-52 lead with 11:11 remaining. He did not take a shot the rest of the game, not being able to get open.
So guards Green (18 points) and Brian Bernardi (17 points) took up the slack. When Norfork crept within 66-61, Bernardi sank two big three-pointers to give the Pride some breathing room. Green tallied 12 points during the final 10:14 to hold the visitors at bay.