A lot has happened to the Hofstra men’s basketball team since our first I’ll Be Quirky here at FloHoops.
A season-defining road trip pretty much yielded a best-case scenario for Joe Mihalich and the Pride, who won four of five games, including a seismic upset of UCLA at Pauley Pavilion two weeks ago last night.
Hofstra heads back to the road tomorrow, this time for much colder environs, when it concludes a three-week trek away from Long Island by visiting St. Bonaventure.
Here’s a look at some of the facts and figures from the Pride’s games in California and Florida.
California Dreamin' Florida Men
The Pride opened its road trip with an 88-78 win over UCLA before a wire-to-wire 79-57 win over Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 24 and a 79-69 loss to San Diego on Thanksgiving Eve. After a little more than 24 hours at home, Hofstra headed to the Boca Raton Classic, where it cruised past Holy Cross, 91-69, on Sunday before winning the tournament with a 64-57 victory over Canisius on Monday. The tournament title is the first for Hofstra since November 2012, when it won the Hempstead regional of the 2K Sports Classic, and the first ever for Mihalich as a head coach.
They've Got The Power
The Pride’s win over UCLA was the program’s first in five games against a current Pac-12 member and its 13th against a school that is in a power conference as of the 2019-20 season.
11/21/19: UCLA 88-78
11/20/15: Florida State 82-77
12/29/06: St. John’s 63-51
3/15/06: Nebraska 73-62***
11/29/05: St. Johns 64-51
12/11/04: St. John’s 78-68
12/2/03: St. John’s 81-64
12/26/00: Rutgers 58-52
12/16/00: St. John’s 86-80
12/26/98: Georgia Tech 61-42
12/1/90: Mississippi 78-73
12/19/78: Florida 68-67
2/7/77: Virginia 78-69 (OT)
A Sign Of Things To Come?
The Boca Raton Classic victory was the sixth in-season tournament championship for Hofstra since 1993 (a starting point that, in a pure coincidence, also marks my first year on campus). The Dutchmen/Pride reached one of the major postseason tournaments following each of the first four in-season tournament championships.
1998 Holiday Festival (invited to the NIT)
1999 Holiday Festival (won the America East’s automatic bid to the NCAAs)
2000 Florida International Tip-Off Classic (won the America East’s automatic bid to the NCAAs)
2006 Holiday Festival (invited to the NIT)
(Winning An Average Of) Two Outa Three Ain't Bad
Hofstra is 6-3 for the fifth straight season and the 16th time in program history.
The Pride’s rollercoaster ride at KenPom.com continued during trip to California and Florida. Hofstra, which began the season as the CAA’s top-ranked team at KenPom but fell from 123 to 153 over the first four games, has jumped back to the top of the league at 120 through last night. Just eight spots separate Hofstra and second-place Northeastern.
Desure Buie, Jalen Ray and Eli Pemberton all set or tied single-game career-highs in scoring during the California portion of the road trip. Buie (29 points) and Ray (27 points) had career highs in the upset of UCLA while Pemberton (28 points) led Hofstra in scoring during the loss to San Diego.
The Best Things In Life Are Free
Desure Buie went 7-for-7 against Canisius on Monday and hit all 33 of his free throws in California and Florida. That is the longest streak of consecutive made free throws by a Hofstra player since Joe Mihalich arrived at the school in 2013. Buie’s last free throw Monday snapped a tie with Brian Bernardi, who drained 32 straight free throws over a 21-game span during the 2016-17 season. Buie’s streak is also the 11th-longest in CAA history.
A Nitty Gritty Win
The Pride scored fewer than 70 points in a win Monday for the first time since a 67-48 victory over Elon on Feb. 8, 2018 — a span of 49 games.
The Defense Didn't Rest
The wins over Cal State Fullerton and Canisius gave Hofstra victories each of the last 24 times it has held an opponent under 60 points. The Pride is 26-1 under Joe Mihalich when holding an opponent to fewer than 60 points. The only loss was absorbed Feb. 10, 2014, when Hofstra fell to James Madison, 59-53.
Who Has The Longest Double-Digit Scoring Streak Now?
As you may have heard, Justin Wright-Foreman enjoyed a monstrous final three seasons at Hofstra before he graduated and was drafted by the Utah Jazz in June. Wright-Foreman ended his Pride career by scoring in double figures in his final 88 games, a school and CAA record. The longest streak of consecutive double-digit scoring efforts now belongs to Desure Buie, who has five in a row. Jalen Ray’s streak ended at seven games when he scored eight points against San Diego.
Hofstra put five players in double figures for the fourth time this season in the win over Holy Cross. The Pride had six players score at least 10 points against Monmouth on Nov. 9 and five players in double figures apiece against New York Tech on Nov. 15 and Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 24. Hofstra had six games last season in which five players scored in double figures.
What's A Unicorn Score & How Many Do The Pride Have Now?
A unicorn score is a score by which the Pride have never won before. Five of the six wins this season have been via unicorn scores, including, remarkably, the 64-57 win over Canisius. You'd think that would have happened a dozen times in the pre-shot clock era.
11/9/19: 94-74 over Monmouth
11/15/19: 111-69 over New York Tech
11/21/19: 88-78 over UCLA
12/1/19: 91-69 over Holy Cross
12/2/19: 64-57 over Canisius
Hofstra had 10 unicorn scores last season. The term unicorn score was coined by New York Mets superfan, historian and blogger Greg Prince to describe a score by which the Mets had never previously won.
Hofstra's CAA-Era Scoring List
The all-time last is still a work a progress, but here’s the movement in Hofstra’s CAA-era scoring list that took place over the last three games.
25.) Jalen Ray, 610
26.) Cornelius Vines, 594
Ray scored eight points against San Diego to move into a tie with Vines before breaking the tie with 16 points against Holy Cross.
34.) Tareq Coburn, 407
35.) Denton Koon, 388
36.) Taran Buie, 371
37.) Shemiye McLendon, 370
Coburn scored 10 points against San Diego to move past McLendon and Buie before scoring 12 against Holy Cross to surpass Koon.
68.) Isaac Kante, 90
69.) Jimmy Hall, 89
70t.) Anthony Noble, 84
70t.) Chris McRae, 84
72.) Dan Dwyer, 74
73.) Shaquille Stokes, 70
74.) Matija Radovic, 69
Kante scored 10 points against San Diego, 12 points against Holy Cross and six points against Canisius to leapfrog six players.
77.) Omar Silverio, 45
78.) Kevin Schutte, 39
79.) Jorge Lebron, 38
Lebron got passed out twice during the Holy Cross game, when Silverio scored eight points and Schutte added two points.
93t.) Hal Hughes, 4
93t.) Paul Bilbo, 4
93t.) Brian Sisti, 4
95t.) Dan Steinberg, 2
Hughes’ dunk against Canisius left Dan Steinberg as the lone Hofstra player to score exactly two points in the CAA era.
Eli Pemberton (fifth with 1,535 points), Desure Buie (16th with 839 points), Stafford Trueheart (53rd with 202 points) all scored over the last three games without moving up the charts.
How Is This Already) A Quarter Century Ago...
Jay Wright began his head coaching career at Hofstra 25 years ago this fall. The Hall of Fame-bound coach earned his first win on Dec. 2, 1994, when the Flying Dutchmen beat Cornell, 82-56, in the first round of the Mile High Classic at the University of Colorado.
Hofstra concludes its marathon road trip Saturday by visiting St. Bonaventure. It is the sixth game all-time between the schools and the first since three years ago today, when the Bonnies earned an 81-75 win on Long Island. Hofstra is 1-4 against St. Bonaventure and 36-104 all-time against current Atlantic 10 schools. The A-10 includes former Hofstra conference foes George Mason (CAA), La Salle (ECC) and VCU (CAA).