Joe Mihalich’s expectations for his team do not match what Hofstra is at the moment.
So the question is: At this point, what is his team?
“It is a work in progress,” Mihalich said after the Pride’s 111-69 rout of NYIT at the Mack Sports Complex on Friday night.
“It’s a long year and you know we have five new guys on this team,’’ he added. “Five new guys on this team, and it takes time. It just takes time. We’re all impatient. We all want it to come quick, but we have five guys that it’s new to them. Some guys haven’t played college basketball before and some guys haven’t played in a while.
“We had to deal with the fact that everybody’s telling us that we were good, picking us first [in the Colonial Athletic Association] and all that stuff they’re telling us. We have to prove that we’re good. We have to find out for ourselves if we’re good.”
Against an overmatched opponent in NYIT (0-3), the Pride (2-2) authored a 40-minute exhibition of ruthless basketball efficiency. Five players scored in double figures, led by senior Tareq Coburn’s career-high 23.
“I was just playing my game [and trusting] my teammates,” Coburn said.
He was backed by Isaac Kante and Jalen Ray, who added 19 points each. Kante also grabbed 10 rebounds. Omar Silverio and Kevin Schutte scored 12 each.
“I just had to get out of my funk,” said Kante, whose work during Friday’s practice session was praised by Mihalich. “This game was really good for me.”
The first meeting between the programs could hardly have gone better for the Pride, who never trailed. Hofstra took a 23-7 lead in the opening 6:10 and built a 60-34 halftime lead.
With the outcome essentially determined, the Pride spent the second half playing as if the game still was in doubt. Only when Connor Klementowicz’s layup in the waning seconds extended the lead to 42 did the celebration begin.
While Mihalich didn’t pour cold water on what his team accomplished, he emphasized that his team has to routinely operate at a high level in order to have success this season.
“We were efficient tonight,” he said.
Hofstra knocked down 54.2% of its shots from the field (45-for-83) and shot 11-for-28 from three-point range (39.3%). Eleven of the 12 players who saw action made at least one basket.
The Pride repeatedly had open shots because of their ball movement. Hofstra had 30 assists on its 45 baskets, led by Desure Buie’s 11.
Marcus Saint-Furcy had 16 points, Jeffrey Hayden 13 and Collins Onyeike 11 for NYIT.