Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hofstra releases nonconference schedule

Juan'ya Green leads experienced Hofstra squad into a nonconference schedule that provides chances for several key Pride wins early. (Photo courtesy of the New York Post)

A Daniel Dixon three-pointer in the final seconds of an epic CAA Tournament semifinal kept Hofstra from making further postseason noise, instead relegating the Pride to the College Basketball Invitational, in which they chased Vermont for 40 minutes but never managed to get over the hump in a close defeat.

Regardless, the experience gained in March will go a long way toward solidifying the expectations in Hempstead, which have been raised enough to where the nonconference schedule released by head coach Joe Mihalich Wednesday afternoon is a slate in which Hofstra will not only face a collection of teams that will be forwardly placed in their respective leagues, but also one that affords the Pride many chances to build toward what should be a very fulfilling year if everything goes according to plan.

The season begins at the Mack Sports Complex with a pair of home games, first against Canisius on November 13 before local counterpart Molloy College of nearby Rockville Centre makes the short jaunt to Hempstead on November 16. From there, Hofstra heads to the Virgin Islands to take part in the Paradise Jam, taking on Florida State in the first leg of the journey on November 20 before two more games against opponents to be determined.

Returning stateside on November 28 to battle St. Bonaventure on the road, the Pride also head to Philadelphia to return one of last year's home games when they meet La Salle at Tom Gola Arena. The December 2 clash with the Explorers will be one where Mihalich returns to the program he spent 17 years at as an assistant coach before being hired as the head coach at Niagara. On December 6, Hofstra takes the floor at Madison Square Garden against Appalachian State in the Holiday Festival. The contest at the "World's Most Famous Arena" will be Hofstra's first at the Garden since the Pride participated in the 2009 Holiday Festival, and will be the first game of a doubleheader that also features St. John's against St. Francis Brooklyn.

A trip up Interstate 87 into Albany awaits Hofstra next, as the Pride will face Siena on December 9 in a game that will see Mihalich match wits with his former Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rival Jimmy Patsos, the head coach of the Saints. Following a hiatus for final exams, the Pride return to the hardwood on December 20 to renew their local rivalry with Stony Brook, this time at Island Federal Credit Union Arena. In the first meeting between the two schools since the 2008-09 season, the Pride and Seawolves produced an instant classic last November, with Dion Nesmith's jumper in the final seconds propelling Hofstra to a dramatic 66-65 victory to claim Long Island bragging rights.

Two home games conclude the non-league ledger, with Florida Atlantic coming to the Mack Sports Complex on December 22, while Sacred Heart visits Hempstead on December 28. All game times are to be determined.

2015-16 Hofstra Pride Nonconference Schedule
Friday, November 13: vs. Canisius
Monday, November 16: vs. Molloy College
Friday, November 20: vs. Florida State (Paradise Jam)
Saturday, November 21-Monday, November 23: vs. TBD (Two games, Paradise Jam)
Saturday, November 28: at St. Bonaventure
Wednesday, December 2: at La Salle
Sunday, December 6: vs. Appalachian State (Holiday Festival, Madison Square Garden)
Wednesday, December 9: at Siena
Sunday, December 20: at Stony Brook
Tuesday, December 22: vs. Florida Atlantic
Monday, December 28: vs. Sacred Heart

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