2007-02-09 / Sports

Rockaway NCAA College Spotlight: Hofstra Stokes On Fire

By Brian Bohl

By Brian Bohl

HEMPSTEAD, NY- Loren Stokes almost reached a school scoring milestone, but it was a defensive-end play that generated the most buzz from a sold-out crowd during Hofstra's 82-66 victory over Northeastern on Saturday.

The Huskies were looking to chip into a late double-digit deficit when Adrian Martinez raced down-court for what appeared to be a breakaway layup. Stokes sprinted from behind, swatting the shot attempt hard against the backboard, garnering a standing ovation from the first sell-out crowd of the season at the Mack Sports Complex

Teammate Antoine Agudio (19 points) grabbed the loose ball before being fouled. His two free throws put the Pride up by 13 with 4:34 remaining, ending all hopes of a comeback. Hofstra and prevented a comeback as Hofstra won their 28th straight regular season home game and stayed one game behind VCU for first-place in the CAA conference.

"I just didn't want them to get a layup because the momentum could have changed," Stokes said. "I tried to time it while he was going up and get it before it hit the backboard. It was just good timing on that one."

Stokes and Carlos Rivera each scored 21 points, with the former now one point away from becoming the fifth player in school history to score 2,000 for his career. His next chance to move up from 1,999 and set the milestone comes Thursday when the Pride host Drexel.

Hofstra all-time leading scorer Steve Nisenson (1962-65) was in attendance and sat behind the Pride bench. Stokes will join a select list that includes current Atlanta Hawks guard Speedy Claxton with his next basket.

He also has an outside chance of surpassing Nisenson's mark of 2,222 career points if he averages slightly over 25 points per game during the rest of the schedule and appears in at least three post-season games, though the senior guard out of Buffalo said his focus is only on winning the conference tournament next month and playing in the NCAA tournament.

"It really doesn't matter about the 2,000 points. I just want to win," Stokes said. "We're trying to get into a good position into the conference tournament."

Added coach Tom Pecora: "He's balanced as a player. He's similar to Speedy in that he's not a vocal young man, but he sets such a wonderful example. As a coach, it's easy when your best players bust their tail every play."

The Agudio-Rivera-Stokes three-guard set combined for 61 points while center Chris Gadley took just three shots, finishing with six points and three rebounds. Forward Mike Davis-Sabb added a career-high 13 rebounds to help the Pride improve to 19-6, including 11-2 against conference opponents.

"It means a lot when he steps up and play like that," Stokes said about Davis-Sabb, who recorded just four points and three rebounds during the Pride's victory over VCU Wednesday. "He plays like that in practice a lot. He just has to play every game like that and he'll be in great shape."

Rivera netted 12 of his 21 points in the first-half, starting 5-7 from the field in helping the Pride take a 40-29 halftime lead.

He finished 7-11 on his field goal attempts, adding four steals.

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