Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Men's Basketball team will open play at the 2010 CAA Tournament on Friday evening when it takes on Georgia State in a 6 p.m. contest at Richmond Coliseum.
Hofstra finished the regular season with an 18-13 record and a 10-8 mark in the CAA, earning the seventh seed. Georgia State was 12-19 overall and 5-13 in the CAA, finishing with the tenth seed. The Hofstra-Georgia State winner will face second-seeded Northeastern on Saturday night at 6 p.m., with the winner of that game moving on to the semifinals on Sunday at 5:30 against either third-seeded William & Mary, sixth-seeded Drexel or 11th-seeded James Madison.
The Pride and Georgia State just played each other in the regular season finale on Saturday, with Hofstra earning an 87-74 win at the Mack Sports Complex. It is the second year in a row that Hofstra has had a rematch in the first round of the CAA Tournament with the team it defeated in the regular season finale, as last year the Pride defeated UNC Wilmington twice in a six-day span to advance to the quarterfinals (where it fell 52-51 to Old Dominion).
Hofstra comes into the CAA Tournament as the hottest team in the league, winning its last six games and nine of its last 10 after starting out conference play 2-7. Junior guard Charles Jenkins (Queens, NY) has been the catalyst, averaging 27.3 points during the last six games, including 29 in the Georgia State win. Jenkins now averages 20.4 points per game, which ranks him 21st in the country, and he is one of only four players in the nation who average at least 20 points, four rebounds and three assists per game.
Jenkins is the only Hofstra player averaging in double figures in scoring, but six others average between 6.3 and 9.8 to give the Pride a wealth of scoring options. Freshman guard Chaz Williams (Brooklyn, NY) and freshman forward Halil Kanacevic (Staten Island, NY) are second and third on the team in scoring at 9.8 ppg and 8.6 ppg, respectively. Senior guard Cornelius Vines (Syracuse, NY) averages 8.5 ppg and has been coming on strong of late, averaging 16.4 points in the last five games, including a career-high 24 at UNC Wilmington on Feb. 13, when he tied the school record with seven three-pointers.
Junior guard Nathaniel Lester (Brooklyn, NY) averages 8.3 points per game, while senior forward Miklos Szabo (Szeghalom, Hungary) and junior forward Greg Washington (Centereach, NY) give Hofstra some inside scoring at 6.6 ppg and 6.3 ppg, respectively. Washington also has 88 blocks this season, breaking his own single-season record of 68 set last season, ranking 15th nationally in that category. Washington already has the school record for blocks in a career with 199, needing just one to become the first player in Hofstra history to block 200 shots in a career.
The Pride has had a successful year on the defensive end of the floor, as it ranks eighth in the country in blocked shots as a team (6.6 bpg), eighth in three-point defense (28.5 percent) and 24th in overall field goal percentage defense (39.3 percent), leading the CAA in all three categories. Hofstra also leads the CAA in free throw shooting (72.5 percent).
Georgia State is a deep team that will rotate 11 players, but will rely heavily on senior guard Joe Dukes, a Wake Forest transfer who averages 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Senior guard Trae Goldston averages 10.3 points and is a dangerous three-point shooter (57-146, 39.0 percent), while Trey Hampton (8.5 ppg) and Xavier Hansboro (7.9 ppg) give the Panthers some inside scoring options.
To listen to the game on-line, sign up for the PrideZone on GoHofstra.com. Video streaming and live stats can be found on the CAA tournament home page at www.caasports.com. The Comcast Network will broadcast the quarterfinals and semifinals, while the championship game on Monday at 7 p.m. will be shown on ESPN.