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Pride falters at USF, cruises to win at Jackson State

By Mike Rudin and Kyle Kandetzki - SPORTS EDITOR AND ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

These are the Men's Basketball's away games. The home games can be found here.

The two game road series started out dreadful with a 71-70 collapse in the final minutes after a 15-point lead against University of South Florida. After such a depleting loss in Florida, the Pride traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, for a quick turnaround as they beat the Jackson State Tigers 86-56.

Juan’ya Green shot both his free throws to bring the Pride ahead 70-69 with 37 seconds left on the clock. Ultimately, the South Florida Bulls made the game-winning shot with a layup from Chris Perry with seven seconds left in the game. Green tried to be the hero for the Pride, but failed to make a jumper with a second to spare.

“All the tough loss for us here. They deserve the credit they made winning plays when you had to and we didn’t,” said head coach Mihalich. “That’s what happens, that’s how you win. We said that all the time: make winning plays and it’s very disappointing,”

Ameen Tanksley led the Pride offense with 20 points in the game and Green shot 17 points in noble efforts to stop the second half collapse.

Thirteen of Green’s points resulted from free throws, otherwise he shot 2-11.

Rokas Gustys helped out as he led the team with 12 total rebounds in the game and shot 6 points.

Hofstra started out a bit sluggish, down 9-17 by the 11:31 mark in the first half. Dion Nesmith scored five consecutive points for the Pride to cut the lead to five after the Bulls shot a layup in between Nesmith’s streak. Bernardi and Green helped cut the deficit to one with a pair of layups.

Green tied the game with a free throw after his layup with 8:41 left in the first half. Nesmith put the Pride ahead and they gradually took the lead for the next few minutes. Hofstra led the South Florida Bulls 28-21 by the 5:26 mark. Then the Pride took nine-point lead with 2:25 left in the first.

Hofstra took a ten-point lead with 1:41 left but the Bulls managed to cut the lead to 36-30 by the end of the first half.

The Pride and the Bulls both battled back and forth in the first four minutes of the second half, the Pride retained their six-point lead after Bernardi made a three-pointer at the 16:08 mark.

Hofstra extended their lead to nine points after Tanskley made a three-pointer of his own with 14:56 left in the game. The Pride would maintain and only the Bulls scored two points in a span of more than four and a half minutes.

Hofstra hit a mini-streak, scoring eight points in a span of less than two minutes that brought their lead to 57-42 with 8:33 to go.

The Bulls then started to storm back, outscoring the Pride 16-7 in nearly five and half minutes, that brought the score to within six points with 2:49 left in the game.

Despite Green’s effort as he shot back-to-back free throws, the Bulls cut the lead to two after a three-pointer, a layup and a free throw made by South Florida with 1:50 left to go.

South Florida Bull, Dinero Mercuious, tied the game up at 66-66 with a layup in the paint and with 1:25 left in the game. Green shot another pair of free throws, the Bulls retaliated with a shot outside the arc which gave South Florida a 69-68 lead with 50 seconds left.

This led to Green’s last pair of points from the free throw line and the missed jumper to cost them the game as the Pride collapsed. 

The Bulls bench outshot the Pride’s in the second half 15-3 and the Bulls outperformed in the paint overall 36-16.

“We’ll see what we’re made of. It’s a heartbreaking loss, it’s a devastating loss. You snatched defeat from the jaws of victory,” said Mihalich. “We’ll see what were made of on Friday.”

The Pride found their way to explode offensively against Jackson State University and maintain their dominant performance through all 40 minutes.

Brian Bernardi made his return to offensive dominance after a short lull since his breakout 22-point performance against Jacksonville.

He topped himself with a 26-point night, while Tanksley followed him with another good game, scoring 21 points.

“I’m proud of our team,” said Mihalich. “This is what good teams do. We come into a game in a tough situation and take care of business.”

Much like the Wagner game, Jackson State only held the lead for a handful of seconds before coughing it up permanently to a hungry Pride offensive attack. Hofstra opening the game on a ten-point run, and was up 22-10 by the half way point of the opening period.

The game wasn’t totally out of hand at halftime, with the score at 37-25 in favor of Hofstra, but the Pride scored even more after the break.

Hofstra outscored the Tigers 49-31, and hit 8 three’s to make sure Jackson State would not be able to bounce back.

Still, with twelve minutes left in the second half, the Tigers only trailed by six points, but the team absolutely disappeared on both sides of the ball to close the game. Eighteen straight points put Hofstra up by 26 in what seemed to be a blink of an eye, and they led by as much as 35 at one point.

Jackson State’s efforts were hopeless once the Pride’s offensive explosion cooled down. The Pride left them to score meaningless hoops for the final eight minutes of play. After quiet closing minutes, Hofstra rolled to the 86-56 victory.

Yet another high-scoring performance from Tanksley makes it evident that he is becoming the Pride’s most reliable offensive option every night, while also being efficient as he shot 66 percent from the field.

Efficiency was the name of the game for the trio of Hofstra players, Bernardi, Tanksley and Green, who went into double figures, as they shot a combined 22-for-39, and 11-for-18 from three.

The win was Hofstra’s first on the road of this season, and placed them at 4-2 so far, while the Tigers dropped to 1-5.

The Pride will finally get a few days of rest before returning to the Mack Sports Complex to play Norfolk State University on Tuesday, Dec. 2nd at 7:00 p.m.

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