After an exhilarating and dramatic home opener Friday night at the Mack arena in Hempstead, NY, the Hofstra men’s basketball team was able to use that momentum to fuel a dominant 74-59 win over the University of the District of Columbia.
The Pride (2-2) got off to a fast start on Saturday night, hitting its first few buckets and pulling out an early 13-5 lead against UDC (1-3). Early on Hofstra’s quick offensive game and crisp defensive rotations helped create a large lead.
“We are always thrilled to get a win. It was a tough game, and they played really hard,” said Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara. “I thought we came out of the gates well and played really hard…. but we have to continue to get better and continue to learn.”
The beginning of the second period wasn’t as impressive as the beginning of the first though as Hofstra missed some early shots and allowed UDC to climb back to within eight. The Pride continued to fight, though, and managed to extend their lead by the midway point in the second period.
“We got to learn to put them away…they battled back and fought back into the game,” said Cassara. “That’s a very good team we just happened to have more bodies and we wore them down a bit.”
Sophomore guard Taran Buie had a terrific game for the Pride scoring twelve points on 5 of 12 shooting in only 21 minutes. Buie has been coming off the bench for the Pride, but was clear after the game that he hopes to start games soon.
“I am just trying to come in and help the team win, whether that’s diving on the floor or making a big shot,” said Buie. “I’m not really too thrilled about coming off the bench, but I am going to do anything I can to help the team get the win.”
Junior forward Stephen Nwaukoni who pulled down nine rebounds and scored thirteen points in just seventeen minutes of play, anchored the Pride’s defense on Saturday night. Nwaukoni provided the late spark Hofstra needed to fend off a late run by UDC.
“I always come into games looking to grab every rebound possible…and help the team win,” said Nwaukoni. “Our intensity was there…even from the start of the game our defensive intensity was better then it normally is.”
Looking ahead the Pride will be looking to extend their winning streak to three games against Marshall University. Hofstra will have to play through some fatigue Sunday afternoon, as this will be their third game in a row.
“They are a really good team…they may be the biggest team we play against all year,” said Cassara. “But we got Marshall at home…and we have a chance to win three games in a row.”