Game 4: Hofstra Home Opener
by jjwagner
 Hofstra Star Charles Jenkins' Sophomore Season
Nov 29, 2008 | 6076 views | 0 0 comments | 146 146 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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MON 11/24/08

HOFSTRA 68, OLD WESTBURY 50

HOFSTRA RECORD: 3-1

JENKINS SEASON AVERAGES: 23.8 pts, 5.5 reb, 3.5 ast, 3.3 to

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Hofstra's home opener against Division III Old Westbury was originally supposed to be an exhibition game. It only came about because of the connection of Old Westbury's Head Coach Bernard Tomlin, who played on Hofstra's 1976 NCAA tournament team. But, with Hofstra opening in the Charleston Classic, the game got pushed back and became a regular season game.

I had a good view of this one, sitting courtside by the midcourt line, my first time seeing Hofstra and Jenkins in person this season, and what I saw at first, was surprising. By halftime, it looked more like Hofstra was locked in a tough battle with a CAA opponent like Drexel than with a school that plays two divisions lower. Jenkins was on (8 points, 3-6 fg) but the rest of his team (a combined 36%, 8-22 fg, was strangely unaggressive against the decidedly smaller Panthers, content to fire up brick after brick from the perimeter, en route to a shockingly slim 28-25 lead at the break.

The strategy was as expected in the second half. The Pride started to drive the lane a lot more, including Jenkins, who scored 16 in after halftime. Jenkins finished with a game-high 24 points (the next closest was Hofstra's Cornelius Vines with 13) on 7-13 fg and 9-11 ft. Jenkins also added 6 boards. Hofstra Head Coach Tom Pecora's teams have had a habit at times of playing down to inferior opponents in recent years, something they'll have to guard against in the CAA this season. This game was like that for Hofstra for most of it, though give some credit to a scrappy, hustling D-III Old Westbury for playing smart and tough, taking the shot clock down on almost every possession to try to shorten the game and stay in it until Hofstra finally pulled away late for their third straight win.

Coach Tomlin was impressed seeing Jenkins up close in game action for the first time, saying "He's a scary player. When you open the floor up and allow him a lot of possessions, he can put big numbers on you."

After the game, Jenkins' admitted to me that his role as Hofstra's leader this year is a lot different than being Agudio's sidekick last year, but it's one that he's confident that he can grow into with ease. Jenkins said "It's very different, it's like night and day. Last year, I relied on Antoine a lot and this year it's kind of weird when the coaches yell at me to get the ball in certain situations. As the season progresses it's going to become second nature."

Comments like the one that followed the one above, demonstrate that the sophomore might already have the maturity needed to accept his new leadership role. He realizes that for Hofstra to win this season, "it's gonna be a collective effort, it's not just going to be one player."

Up next, a contest against another local team, though time, a fellow D-I opponent, as HU travels to the Bronx to take on Manhattan College (that has just never sounded right to me! The Jaspers should be playing in Manhattan!). Talk to you all again this weekend.
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