Coming off two straight losses, Hofstra got its groove back with an 88-62 victory over LIU Brooklyn on Sunday at Barclays Center. It highlighted all the offensive weapons that should make the Pride a legitimate contender for the Colonial Athletic Association title when conference play begins Saturday at North Carolina Wilmington.
Junior Ameen Tanksley had a career-high 28 points, including 5-for-11 three-point shooting that actually was below his previous 55.4 percent shooting from long range. Juan'ya Green had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Dion Nesmith scored 13 and Brian Berardi had 12 on 4-for-7 three-point shooting.
Hofstra actually shot better from three-point range (14-for-27, 51.9 percent) than it did overall (50.8 percent).
"This is like getting the last touch of flu out of your system," coach Joe Mihalich said of shaking off the losing bug.
If Tanksley maintains his hot hand, there won't be a zone defense in the CAA the Pride (8-4) can't shred. "It's something we do well,'' Mihalich said. "We're certainly not going to get away from things we do well. But people are going to adjust.''
When LIU Brooklyn cut the deficit to 12 early in the second half, Tanksley's three ignited a 10-0 Hofstra run. He hit back-to-back threes a few minutes later.
"I'm just excited,'' he said. "It's my first time playing on an NBA floor. My adrenaline was going. I've been shooting the ball OK throughout college, but I haven't been shooting this well. Working after practice and putting extra shots up helped a lot.''
After flirting with triple-double territory earlier in the season, Green finally made it happen. "It's about time,'' he said. "I've been working on both ends, grabbing boards and trying to get my teammates involved. I'm just glad I got it and got the win.''The Pride travels to Central Connecticut State for its final non-conference game Wednesday, and Mihalich is hoping 6-9 freshman Rokas Gustys can come off the injury list to provide an inside presence for CAA play. "He's not going to lead the team in scoring,'' Mihalich said, "but he'll make three or four layups a game.''
Short-range shooting counts, too.