I'll Be Quirky: Two Comebacks & A Career Night

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It feels like a decade has passed since we gathered for an I’ll Be Quirky. Hofstra had an interesting first week of the CAA season as the Pride closed out the 2010s by sweeping a road trip from James Madison and Towson before it started the 2020s by splitting a homestand with William & Mary and Elon in decidedly extreme fashion.

As tempted as we are to make this all Desure Buie all the time, we’ll go in order and leave the best stuff for the Pride for last in the look back at the first four conference games before a look ahead Thursday’s big game against Northeastern.

A Double-Digit Second Half Comeback, Pt. I

The Pride opened CAA play Dec. 28 by coming back from a 13-point second half deficit to beat James Madison, 82-76. Eli Pemberton scored a game-high 25 points, including 17 in the first half, and the trio of Desure Buie, Tareq Coburn and Jalen Ray combined for 39 points in the second half. Hofstra hit 16 of its last 20 shots and took advantage of poor free throw shooting by James Madison, which was 7-of-22 from the line, to improve to 11-8 all-time in CAA openers.

A Double-Digit Second Half Comeback, Pt. II

The Pride liked coming from behind so much, they did it again against Towson Dec. 30, when the Tigers led by 12 just after halftime before Hofstra roared back to earn a 75-67 win. Buie scored a career-high 35 points, including 19 in the second half, while pulling down six rebounds and dishing out six assists. Hmm how long do you think that career-high will last? Tareq Coburn (12 of his 14 points) and Isaac Kante (all nine of his points) also had a big final 20 minutes. 

OK, So There Was No Comeback This Time

The new decade didn’t get off to such a hot start for the Pride, which never led last Thursday as it absorbed an 88-61 rout at the hands of William & Mary. It was the worst regular season CAA loss for Hofstra in more than 16 years. Kante (11 points, 10 rebounds) was the lone bright spot for the Pride, which trailed by as many as 34 points in the second half and finished the night 23-of-67 shooting, including just 4-of-25 from beyond the arc.

That's One Way To Bounce Back

Buie helped the Pride respond in impressive fashion Saturday, when he shattered the aforementioned career-high by scoring 44 points as Hofstra came back from a nine-point first half deficit to cruise past Elon, 102-75. Buie shot past 1,000 career points in one of the greatest single-game performances in school history. The senior added five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Kante (19 points, eight rebounds) flirted with another double-double.

A Good Start

The Pride’s 3-1 record in the CAA marks the eighth time it has started 3-1 or better.  The 3-1 start is the first 3-1 start since 2015-16. Hofstra qualified for postseason play six of the previous seven times it was 3-1 or better through four games. The only exception: 2013-14, when the Pride started 3-1 in Joe Mihalich’s first season and finished 5-11.

The Pride Through 17 Games

Hofstra’s 12-5 record is tied for the 16th-best record in program history through 17 games. The Pride most recently started 12-5 in 2015-16.

Buie Goes Bonkers

Desure Buie had his second 30-point game of the week (or, as Bart Simpson might say: “Wow! Spanning two decades!”) Saturday, when he scored 44 points. The outburst tied Buie for the fifth-highest single-game point total in program history and made him just the fifth Hofstra player to score at least 44 points. 

Justin Wright-Foreman and Bill Thieben share the single-game scoring record with 48 points apiece. Steve Nisenson (47 points, 45 points and 44 points) had three games in which he scored at least 44 points while Demetrius Dudley scored 44 points once. In addition, Buie’s 44 points rank as the sixth-most ever scored in a CAA game.

Select Club

Buie added five rebounds Saturday, which made him just the 12th player this season to score at least 40 points and pull down at least five boards. He’s the second CAA player to do so this season, following in the footsteps of Northeastern’s Jordan Roland, who had 42 points and six rebounds against Harvard on Nov. 8.

Efficiency Is His Middle Name

Well, not really, but Buie likely had the most efficient game by a Hofstra player in at least a quarter-century Saturday, when he scored his 44 points on 15-of-19 shooting from the field — including 6-of-8 from 3-point land — and 8-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. It is just the fourth time since the start of 2010-11 (the first season CollegeBasketballReference.com has individual boxscores in its Play Index feature) that a Hofstra player has shot at least 70 percent from the field while taking at least 15 shots, and neither Justin Wright-Foreman (two 70%+ games from the field) nor Rokas Gustys shot better either from the field or from the free throw line than Buie. 

That's A Big Week

Buie scored 104 points in his first four CAA games — two more points than he scored in 34 games as a freshman in 2015-16. The monster week is even more impressive considering Buie scored just 10 points in Thursday’s loss to William & Mary.

Buie 1K

Buie was 32 points shy of 1,000 entering Saturday, so we have to admit we didn’t think we’d be seeing a milestone basket. But Buie’s layup with 13:09 left Saturday capped his own 7-0 run and made him the 38th member of Hofstra’s 1,000-point club. He is the first new member of the 1,000-point club since teammate Eli Pemberton and the seventh player to score 1,000 points under Joe Mihalich, who is in his seventh season at the helm.

The Century Club

Hofstra scored at least 100 points in a game Saturday for the 37th time in program history and the first time since beating Elon, 102-61, in the previous meeting between the schools on Feb. 7, 2019. This is the first time Hofstra has scored 100 points in consecutive games against an opponent since the then-Flying Dutchmen beat Virginia Wesleyan, 100-77, during the 1982-83 season and 105-74 during the 1984-85 season.

OK, We Buried The Bad Stuff

The William & Mary game was as rough for the Pride as the Elon game was smooth. With several players battling the effects of the flu, Hofstra absorbed its worst loss in a CAA game since an 85-50 loss to Georgia State in the first round of the CAA Tournament on Mar. 2, 2012 and its worst loss in a regular season conference game since a 77-46 loss to Old Dominion on Mar. 1, 2003. The Pride also trailed wire-to-wire for the first time since an 85-76 loss to Siena on Nov. 25, 2017 and the first time in a CAA game since an 82-73 loss to James Madison on Feb. 28, 2015.

KenPom Ponderings

The Pride’s rollercoaster ride in the KenPom.com rankings continued Thursday, when it entered the William & Mary game at no. 123 — its second-highest spot of the season — and fell to no. 156 by the end of the night. Hofstra was no. 148 as of the completion of yesterday’s games, third in the CAA behind Charleston (118) and Northeastern (131).

Who Scored The First Points Of The '20s & '10s?

Eli Pemberton hit a jumper 1:53 into the first half Thursday to end a game-opening 7-0 run by William & Mary. Nathaniel Lester started the 2010s for Hofstra by hitting a jumper 47 seconds into a 48-47 loss to William & Mary on…Jan. 2, 2010. Weird.

Who Scored The Last Points Of The '00s & '10s?

Desure Buie’s free throw with seven seconds left officially closed the book on the ‘10s for Hofstra. The final point of the 2000s was also a free throw, and it was also hit by Lester with nine seconds left in a 67-63 win over Florida Atlantic on Dec. 29, 2009. 

The 2010s In Review

The Pride closed out the 2010s with the win over Towson. Hofstra went 175-157 overall in the 2010s, including 95-84 in CAA play. That’s pretty impressive considering the Pride went 27-70 (12-40 in CAA play) in the three seasons from 2011-12 through 2013-14.

Back-To-Back Comebacks

The Pride came back from double-digit deficits against both James Madison and Towson. It was the first time Hofstra has won consecutive games in which it trailed by at least 10 points since Feb. 2-4, 2017, when the Pride came back from 14 down in a 73-65 win over Delaware and from 13 down in a 79-77 win over Drexel.

So Who Has A Double-Digit Scoring Streak Now?

Justin Wright-Foreman, as you may or may not recall, ended his Hofstra career by scoring in double figures in each of his last 88 games. The longest such streak now belongs to Desure Buie, who has 13 straight double-digit efforts.

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. Not surprisingly, Saturday’s 102-77 win was a unicorn score — the seventh of the season for Hofstra. 

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

12/10/19: 71-63 over Stony Brook

1/4/20: 102-77 over Elon

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. 

What's Next?

With the four-games-in-eight-days sprint complete, the Pride has just one game this week, but it’s a big one Thursday night at Northeastern in a rematch of last year’s CAA championship game. It’s also the only game of the week for Northeastern, which, like Hofstra, is off Saturday before embarking upon the UNC Wilmington-Charleston road trip Jan. 16-18 game. So whomever wins Thursday will be assured of remaining no worse than one game behind the CAA’s lone unbeaten teams, Charleston and William & Mary.

Hofstra earned a dramatic 75-72 win over Northeastern one year ago yesterday, when Justin Wright-Foreman hit a running 34-footer at the buzzer, before Northeastern recored a 75-61 win in Boston on Feb. 2 and an 82-74 win in the title game Mar. 12. The Huskies’ CAA Tournament victory equaled the all-time series with the Flying Dutchmen/Pride at 23-23.

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