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Hofstra MBB begins CAA Play with Trip To UNCW

The Hofstra Men's Basketball team giving high fives to fans at the Barclays Center. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team giving high fives to fans at the Barclays Center. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team will start Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play on Saturday when the Pride visit UNCW for a 2 p.m. matinee.

Live video and audio will be available via Pride Productions, with the video courtesy of UNCW. The audio broadcast can also be heard on WRHU (88.7 FM) beginning at 1:45 p.m.

Hofstra (9-4) will bring a two-game win streak into the contest as the Pride won its final two non-conference games in dominating fashion, earning an 88-62 victory over LIU Brooklyn on Sunday before capturing an 84-56 win over Central Connecticut State on Wednesday.

The nine non-conference wins for the program are the most since the 2008-09 squad also won nine non-conference contests.

Heading into conference play, Hofstra is really showcasing how dangerous of a team it is offensively. In the game at CCSU, the Pride placed five players in double figures and this season Hofstra has four players averaging double figures.

Junior forward Ameen Tanksley (19.5 ppg), junior guard Juan’ya Green (17.7 ppg), sophomore guard Brian Bernardi (12.9 ppg) and graduate guard Dion Nesmith (11 ppg) are the driving forces behind the Pride’s 81.3 points per game average – which ranks 15th nationally.

Tanksley is the Pride’s top rebounder in the absence of freshman forward Rokas Gustys as he pulls down 6.2 per game. Green leads the team and CAA, and ranks ninth nationally with his 87 assists. He is also first on the squad with 19 steals.

Green is really taking over leadership of this Pride team as he is now averaging 6.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game this year to go along with his scoring average. What makes those totals even more impressive is that Green is the only player in the entire nation to average at least 17 points, six assists and five rebounds per game. In fact, according to research by Stats, Inc., only eight players since 1996 have ever completed a season with those numbers.

The other players include: Anthony Carter (Hawaii, 1997-98), Charles Jones (LIU Brooklyn, 1997-98), Bobby Dixon (Troy, 2005-06), Jared Jordan (Marist, 2006-07), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland, 2007-08), Nick Calathes (Florida, 2008-09), Evan Turner (Ohio State (2009-10) AND current Hofstra Assistant Coach Craig “Speedy” Claxton (Hofstra, 1999-2000).

Hofstra will start CAA action as the nation’s fourth-best three-point shooting team behind the stellar shooting of Tanksley and Bernardi. The Pride hit 10 three-pointers against the Blue Devils on Sunday, marking the seventh game this season Hofstra has drained at least 10 from beyond the arc. Tanksley ranks seventh nationally in three-point field goal percentage, while Bernardi is eighth nationally. Hofstra is the only school in the nation with two players ranked among the top ten in nation in that category.

UNCW is 5-6 on the season under first-year head coach Kevin Keatts. The Seahawks dropped their last three non-conference games, including a 72-53 loss at Ohio on December 30. C.J. Gettys had 13 rebounds for UNCW against the Bobcats, while Addison Spruill led the way with 16 points and Craig Ponder added 13. Freddie Jackson leads the team with 15.4 points per game, while also pulling down 6.5 rebounds. Spruill is second with 12 points and averages 5.6 rebounds per outing. Cedrick Williams is the Seahawks top rebounder with 7.2 caroms per contest and also averages 8.1 points. Jordan Talley has a team-best 32 assists.

Hofstra leads the all-time series with UNCW, 16-14. The series began when the Pride joined the CAA in 2001-02. The highly-competitive series has seen Hofstra win each of the last four meetings between the teams. The Seahawks won the first eight meetings before the Pride earned its first win with a 74-68 victory in Hempstead during the 2004-05 season. Hofstra has won 11 of the last 13 meetings in the series. Head Coach Joe Mihalich is 3-0 all-time against the Seahawks.

After the UNCW game, Hofstra will play its first home conference game on Monday, January 5 when the Pride host defending CAA champion Delaware at 7 p.m. For ticket information visit the brand-new HofstraTickets.com or call the Hofstra Athletics Box Office at (516) HOF-TIXX.

For more information on the Hofstra Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click here:

http://www.gohofstra.com

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