ODU Knocks Hofstra Out of CAA Playoffs
March 7, 2009
RICHMOND, Va. — Hofstra coach Tom Pecora wasn’t beating himself up after his team lost a pressure-cooker of a game to Old Dominion in the CAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. The main reason, he has star sophomore Charles Jenkins for two more seasons.
Jenkins, who led the Pride with 27 points and six rebounds, saw his buzzer-beating try skim off ODU forward Jonathan Adams’ hand and into the air. After falling to the floor, it’s hard to say if Jenkins saw the ball fall too.
“I just wanted to score… I just wanted it to go in the basket,” a quiet and dejected Jenkins said following the game.
His coach Tom Pecora described why Jenkins took the final shot, “I will live and die with the ball in [Jenkins’] hands.”
The dramatic win for Old Dominion earns a CAA semifinal date with nemesis Virginia Commonwealth University, the tournament’s top seed, Sunday afternoon.
CAA first teamer Gerald Lee didn’t just “pace” the Monarchs or “lead” his team to victory. He was that victory. He was the team. Lee dumped in 30 points — nearly 60 percent of ODU’s scoring — and added 10 rebounds. The 6-foot 10-inch forward shot 13-19 from the floor, while the rest of his team went 8-35.
“Gerald Lee played more like Tim Duncan today,” Pecora said.
Hofstra didn’t have an answer for Lee, who received beatings from four Pride big men. Hofstra threw double and triple teams at Lee, but to no avail.
Hofstra led at halftime, but fell flat in the second half, going eight minutes without a basket and only one free throw. Woes continued as they managed just five points in more than 12 minutes. ODU took advantage, slightly, building an eight-point advantage. Trouble at the free throw line prevented ODU from dominating the second half. For the game, the Monarchs shot 8-19, or 42 percent.
The Pride entered the CAA playoffs as ranked fifth in rebounding in the country, but it didn’t show through Saturday. Old Dominion, which got beat on the glass by 13 at Hofstra earlier this year, cleaned the glass and out-rebounded the Pride by 13. ODU turned 16 offensive rebounds into extra possessions and extra points.
While ODU ends Hofstra’s CAA season, the Pride hope to earn a bid to one of the postseason tournaments. The best tournament they could hope for is the National Invitational Tournament. They won’t find out whether their season continues for at least another week.
“I hope we are a postseason team. I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Pecora said.
Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora and Charles Jenkins at the post-game press conference (Top). Hofstra senior Dane Johnson walks off the court after the Pride lost to Old Dominion on Saturday in the CAA basketball tournament. (Bottom). (Nassau News Live photos by Tim Robertson)