Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Recap: Hofstra 65, Holy Cross 64

by Matthew Stevens | February 17th, 2007

The Hofstra Pride (20-8, 12-4) rode its tremendous trio of guards to victory once again. With 1.7 seconds on the clock, senior guard Carlos Rivera toed the line and knocked down two free throws to defeat the Holy Cross Crusaders 65-64 on BracketBuster Saturday. The victory gave Tom Pecora and the Pride their third consecutive 20-win season.

Rivera, Loren Stokes and Antoine Agudio are the highest scoring guard trio in the nation, averaging 53.1 points a game. They did not disappoint on the national stage, combining for an outrageous 54 of the Pride’s 65 points. Rivera and Agudio led the way with 19 apiece and shot a combined six for nine from behind the arc. Stokes finished with 16.

Holy Cross (20-8, 11-1) is one of the toughest defensive teams in the country allowing only 57.4 points a game, good for 13th in the nation, and their tenacity on the defensive end kept them in the game. The Crusaders used a 2-3 match-up zone most of the game to confuse Hofstra and forced the Pride into 19 turnovers. In the first half Holy Cross took advantage of those mistakes, scoring 21 of their 32 points off of turnovers.

Torey Thomas and Keith Simmons are the main reasons for Holy Cross’ success on the defensive side of the ball. They both are extremely quick guards who defend the perimeter well and close out quickly on passes from the top of the key to the wing. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, when they didn’t force turnovers, Hofstra usually scored. The Pride were lights out from the floor all game long — 67% from the field in the first half and 56% for the game, including seven of twelve from behind the arc.

Simmons and Thomas also led the Crusaders on the offensive side as they finished with 22 and 16 respectively.

Last season Hofstra was forced to play in the NIT and wonder what could have been as they watched their conference rival George Mason, a team they defeated twice in the final two weeks of the regular season, advance to the Final Four. This season their profile is not as strong and their one-point victory over Holy Cross will not do much to strengthen their case for an at-large bid. If they are able to win the CAA Tournament and get to the Big Dance for the first time since 2001 it will definitely lessen the sting from last season. Tom Pecora would love to give his trio of guards an opportunity to repeat George Mason’s miracle Final Four run from a year ago.

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