The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team started their season with a 94-61 victory over Jacksonville University at the Mack Sports Complex on Friday night.
Five different Hofstra players scored in double figures, led by Brian Bernardi’s (Staten Island, NY) 22, Ameen Tanksley’s (Philadelphia, PA) 16. Malik Nichols (Rockaway Beach, NY) (15), Juan’ya Green (Philadelphia, PA) (14) and Dion Nesmith (Union, NJ) (11) also finished with more than 10 points for the Pride.
Hofstra never trailed in this game and actually held a lead for all but 40 seconds of the contest. The last time the game was tied was at 2-2. The Pride went ahead for good when the game was just 100 seconds old.
The best part of the game was the balanced scoring set forth by the home team. The Pride passed the ball well and hit the open man. They finished the game with 24 assists led by Green’s nine.
“The points were balanced, the minutes were balanced,” head coach Joe Mihalich said after the game. “It was a good way to start the season.”
Bernardi was particularly accurate, shooting 8-for-10 from the field. As a team, Hofstra shot 55.2 percent from the field with Tanksley (7-of-11) and Nichols (6-for-8) also having very strong shooting days.
Both Bernardi and Green were playing their first official games for Hofstra after transferring and sitting out last season under the NCAA’s restrictive rules. Bernardi transferred from Southern Methodist while Green played for Mihalich two years ago at Niagara.
“I was pretty nervous,” Green admitted. “I think it was all based on my first shot. I felt pretty good about myself out of the gate.”
Freshman Andre Walker (Clarksburg, MD) had 11 rebounds in his college debut to lead the Pride. Rokas Gustys (Kaunas, Lithuania) was close behind with 10 boards in just 10 minutes of playing time.
The Pride led 53-32 at halftime and never let Jacksonville get closer than 19 points in the second half. A 19-4 run by Hofstra made it 81-44 with 7:46 remaining. After that, Mihalich started slowing down the tempo and giving major minutes to his reserves.
An enthusiastic crowd of 2,208 rocked the Mack Sports Complex and cheered the efforts of this new and improved club.
“The excitement was there, the emotion was there,” Mihalich said after the game. “That’s what you want to try do. Give them a reason to come back. We felt bad a year ago when we let everybody down [a shorthanded Pride club finished 10-23]. Tonight, they liked what they saw.”
The 94 points was the most scored by a Hofstra club in regulation since their 102-62 win over Farmingdale State in the 2010-11 season opener.
The Pride returns to action Monday night when they hit the road to take on North Carolina State on Monday at 7 pm ET. The game will air over the Internet on ESPN 3.
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