I'll Be Quirky: Don't Look Now, But Here Comes The Pride

Hofstra bball

Who had a better weekend than the Hofstra men’s basketball team (OK fine, we see you, Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs)? The Pride had perhaps its most impressive road trip as a member of the CAA by heading south and cruising to an 86-63 win over Elon on Thursday before trekking a little further north, getting a bit of in-season revenge and moving into a first-place tie with another 23-point win, this one an 83-60 victory over William & Mary. Hofstra, William & Mary and Charleston are knotted atop the CAA at 8-3.

The Pride will be out of first place the next time it plays, though through no fault of its own. While Charleston hosts William & Mary on Thursday, Hofstra doesn’t play again until Saturday, when Northeastern travels to Long Island. Here is a look back at some of the facts and figures from the big wins over the Phoenix and Tribe and a look ahead to the Huskies.

Rising Over The Phoenix

Desure Buie (18 points, 11 assists) posted the second double-double of his career and Eli Pemberton (26 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) almost recorded the second triple-double in school history as Hofstra continued to thrive against Elon. Pemberton appeared as if he’d join Juan’ya Green in the exclusive triple-double club when he raced out of the gate with 11 points, six rebounds and six assists in the first half for the Pride, who led by as many as 14 points. Elon pulled within four in the opening seconds of the second half before Hofstra went on a 9-0 run. The Pride was never threatened again and led by as many as 26 points. Isaac Kante (16 points, eight rebounds) also flirted with a double-double.

Taking It To The Tribe

All five starters scored in double figures for Hofstra, which moved into a tie for first place by routing William & Mary 30 days after the Tribe earned a 27-point win on Long Island. Desure Buie (a game-high 22 points and seven assists) led the way for the Pride, but Tareq Coburn (19 points) hit the two biggest shots by draining a pair of 3-pointers off passes from Buie in the final 18 seconds of the first half to give Hofstra a 43-33 lead. William & Mary got within seven points three times in the first four minutes of the second half before the Pride went on a 31-9 run. Isaac Kante (13 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double while Eli Pemberton scored 16 points and Jalen Ray finished with 10 points.

This One Goes To Eleven

We spoiled the surprise up top, but the weekend sweep improved the Pride to 8-3 and vaulted it into a tie for first place with William & Mary and Charleston. (Technically, Hofstra is third at the moment by virtue of tiebreakers.) This is the third time in seven seasons under Joe Mihalich in which Hofstra has been 8-3 or better through 11 league games. The Pride was 10-1 last season and 8-3 in 2016. Hofstra was also 8-3 in 2006 and 2011 and 9-2 in 2007.

The Pride Through 24 Games

Hofstra’s 17-7 record is tied for the 16th-best record in program history through 24 games. The Pride most recently started 17-7 in 2004-05.

Road Warriors

With the resounding wins over Elon and William & Mary, the Pride improved to 9-4 on the road this season. The nine road wins are tied for the most in the country with Stephen F. Austin (9-2) and Albany (9-3).

So How Good A Weekend Was That?

Hofstra played 80 minutes against Elon and William & Mary and trailed for a grand total of 27 seconds. The back-to-back 23-point wins marked the first time Hofstra has won consecutive road games by at least 20 points since the then-Flying Dutchmen beat Florida International (78-50) and Florida Atlantic (87-67) from Nov 18-21, 2000. And it’s the first time Hofstra has won consecutive road league games by at least 20 points since the then-Flying Dutchmen beat New Hampshire (83-45) and Northeastern (80-69) from Jan. 23-28, 2000. Both the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 teams made the NCAA Tournament — the most recent tourney trips for Hofstra. 

In addition, Hofstra is the first CAA team to win back-to-back road games by at least 20 points since William & Mary beat Delaware (90-65) and Drexel (85-63) from Jan. 5-7, 2018.

Easing By Elon

Hofstra swept Elon and won both games by at least 23 points The Pride beat the Phoenix, 102-75, on Long Island on Jan. 4. It is the third time since joining the CAA prior to the 2001-02 season that Hofstra has swept a season series from a league foe and won both games by at least 20 points. The Pride swept Delaware with 91-46 and 92-70 wins last season and Drexel with 86-58 and 81-57 wins in 2014-15. Thanks to reader EvanJ for the tip on this one.

Lose Big, Win Big

The resounding win over William & Mary Saturday presented quite a contrast from the first game of the season between the teams, which the Tribe won, 88-61, on Jan. 2. This is the second time ever — but the second time in three seasons — Hofstra has recorded a 20-point win and a 20-point loss against a league foe in the same season. Two years ago Saturday, the Pride cruised to a 96-76 win at home over UNC Wilmington. Nine days later, the Seahawks routed Hofstra, 90-70, at Trask Coliseum. 

This marks the third time in four years CAA teams have traded 20-point wins. During the 2016-17 season, Northeastern beat William & Mary 84-64 on Dec. 31 before the Tribe returned the favor with a 94-69 win on Feb. 2.

Buie Bounding Up The Lists

Desure Buie continued surging up Hofstra’s all-time scoring list over the weekend. With his 18 points Thursday, Buie jumped over Richie Swartz into 31st place. And with his 22 points Saturday, Buie leapfrogged Mike Moore and Wandy Williams to climb into 29th place. Buie is just three points away from moving past Nathaniel Lester into 28th place.

Eli(te) Pemberton

While Eli Pemberton didn’t complete the triple-double Thursday, he still became just the third Hofstra player in the last 10 seasons to collect at least 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the same game. Pemberton is the first to do so since Juan’ya Green finished with 30 points eight rebounds and seven assists on Jan. 24, 2016, when Hofstra beat William & Mary, 91-63. Charles Jenkins racked up 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the Pride’s 102-62 victory over Division IV Farmingdale State on Nov. 13, 2010.

Coburn Goes Cold And Hot

Tareq Coburn, who scored a career-high 24 points and also pulled down 12 rebounds against Drexel on Jan. 25, went scoreless over 25 minutes against Elon on Thursday. He is the first Hofstra player to go scoreless in a game after recording a 20-point game earlier the season since Taran Buie had four 20-point games before being held without a point against Towson on Feb, 16, 2013.

But Coburn bounced back in a big way Saturday, when he scored 19 points while going 6-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point land. 

Kan Do

Isaac Kante enjoyed a perfect shooting afternoon Saturday, when he went 6-for-6 against William & Mary. It’s the third time this season Kante has been perfect from the field (minimum six attempts). He was 6-for-6 against Manhattan on Dec. 22 and 7-for-7 against Northeastern on Jan. 9. Only two other Hofstra players in the CAA era have had three such games. Jacquil Taylor had a 6-for-6 game against Elon on Feb. 7, 2019 and two 7-for-7 games — against Rosemont on Dec. 22 2019 and James Madison on Mar. 10, 2019 — in his lone season with the Pride last season while Rokas Gustys had two 6-for-6 games (against Vermont on Mar. 18, 2015 and Northeastern on Jan. 25, 2018) and an 8-for-8 game (against Northeastern on Jan. 25, 2018).

Kenpom Ponderings

With the big win over William & Mary on Saturday, the Pride officially pulled a Thriller*** by once again climbing to the top of the KenPom.com rankings. Hofstra was third in the league at no. 140 entering Saturday but jumped to no. 126 as of the end of Sunday’s games. Charleston (135) and Northeastern (142) rank second and third while Towson (171) and William & Mary (186) remained fourth and fifth, just as they were last week, following double-digit drops between Saturday and Monday. This marks the fourth time this season Hofstra has been atop the CAA’s KenPom rankings.

***Michael Jackson’s Thriller hit the top spot of the Billboard album charts three times in 1983-84 (sure it’s the best-selling album of all-time but it was either this or compare the Pride to Milli Vanilli, which had the no. 1 album four times from 1989-90, but we’re not doing that)

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 20 straight double-digit efforts.

What's A Unicorn Score And How Many Do The Pride Have Now?

A unicorn score is a score by which the Pride have never won before. And Hofstra’s big weekend included not one but two unicorn scores. It’s a unicornucopia! The unicorn score over Elon was the Pride’s first since the previous win over the Phoenix on Jan. 4. Hofstra has nine unicorn scores this season after posting 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. 

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: 102-75 over Elon
1/30/20: 86-63 over Elon
2/1/20: 83-60 over William & Mary

What's Next

Hofstra gets to enjoy its second extended break of the CAA season and won’t play again until Saturday, when the Pride hosts Northeastern in the school’s first Winter Homecoming. The 2000 NCAA Tournament team, including current assistant coach Craig “Speedy” Claxton, will also be honored. Northeastern, which is Hofstra’s travel partner, is also off until Saturday.

The Pride earned a last-second 74-72 win over Northeastern on Jan. 9, when Eli Pemberton hit a running layup just before time expired in Boston. The dramatic win gave Hofstra a 24-23 all-time lead in the series against the Huskies.

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