The heavily favorited Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Hofstra Pride 96-73 at the Barclays Center during the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival. Hofstra, 26 point underdogs heading into this game, had some encouraging moments in the first half but were ultimately no match for Kentucky’s highly talented team.
It was clear from the start that Kentucky simply had more talent then Hofstra. The Wildcats, coached by John Calipari, were able to land three of the top ten recruits in the 2016 H.S. class.
Kentucky started off the game with a quick lead, but Hofstra did a good job of keeping Kentucky within striking distance. The Pride were able to cut the lead to 3 points, as Kentucky only lead 36-33 with a few minutes left in the half.
After a timeout, Kentucky finished the half on a 12-0 run.
Hofstra could not regain momentum, as Kentucky would go on to score 48 points in the second half.
Senior guard Deron Powers was one of the bright spots for Hofstra. Powers, led the team with 18 points. Although he only shot 4-15 from the floor, Powers served as the ‘spark plug’ for Hofstra by repeatedly taking it to the basket and getting to the foul line. Powers shot 9-11 on his free throws.
Eli Pemberton, freshman guard and the leading point scorer for the Pride this season, was held to only 4 points on 1-6 shooting.
Rokas Gustys, The Pride’s senior center from Lithuania, was held to only 8 rebounds. Gustys leads the nation in rebounding, averaging a whopping 13.4 per game.
Here are some video clips from the game:
Although The Pride lost this game by over 20 points, it was an encouraging sign to see them hang around with one of the top teams in the nation. Hofstra did not seem overwhelmed by the moment. Coach Calipari even acknowledged this when answering sideline questions going into halftime.
The Pride are looking to win the CAA conference championship this season, which would earn them their first NCAA title bid since 2001.
Last season Hofstra suffered a heartbreaking loss to UNC-Wilmington in OT of the conference championship game.
The Pride had a lead heading into halftime, but ultimately could not hang on, losing in overtime 80-73.
This was the first basketball game I have ever watched at the Barclays Center. Here are my thoughts on the venue:
Looking at this game from a big picture standpoint, the fact Hofstra basketball was able to play a competitive game with Kentucky is a hopeful sign that The Pride will have another solid season ahead of them.