By Jordan Sawyer -- STAFF WRITER
Desure Buie unleashed for 20 points and eight assists alongside career-highs in every offensive category on pace to leading the Hofstra men’s basketball team to a 90-63 victory over the Fightin’ Blue Hens of Delaware on Thursday night at the Mack Sports Complex.
“The star of the show tonight was Desure and not just because he was making shots, I thought he controlled the team, I thought he energized us,” said head coach Joe Mihalich said.
Both Hofstra and Delaware entered the game with 11 wins (four in conference) and looked to move up in the Colonial Athletic Association rankings.
“I’m surprised by the outcome. I thought it would be a wire to wire game, two teams battling it out,” Mihalich said.
Hofstra earned the rights to a three-way tie between William & Mary and Northeastern for first place in the CAA with its fifth conference win of the season.
It remained a tight-knit game until Jalen Ray checked in at the scorers table to create separation. Hofstra held a two-point lead with 5:30 to play in the first before Ray stung the Hens for an easy five points to add to his first half total of seven.
“He’s come in and made some big shots, we all know about those game-winning shots he’s made, but it’s not just those game-winning shots. He’s had some other games where he’s made some shots,” Mihalich said.
Buie stole the ball and finished with a tough layup in traffic on the other end to put the icing on the cake of his career-high in points (formerly 10 at La Salle as a freshman) and extends Hofstra’s halftime lead to 39-31.
He finished with a team high 12 points at the half.
“I came into tonight with the mentality that I got to bring energy to the team and be the best I can,” Buie said.
On the other end, reigning CAA Rookie of the Year Ryan Daly was held to three points on 1-8 shooting.
“[We’re] great friends, but when it’s game time I just had to do what I had to do to make sure I stop him, just for my team, not for me, because I know that’s their star player,” Eli Pemberton said.
The Pride bit into its eight-point halftime lead and ran through the prairie with it.
Buie became the chauffeur in the second half as Pemberton and Justin Wright-Foreman took a seat in the Pride wagon on the journey to a 33-point lead with 2:54 left in regulation.
“We had that little bit of separation then we kept building on it by making some shots,” Mihalich said.
The junior guard dished out six second half assists and added on three more buckets to finish with 20 total points.
Pemberton found the first four points of the second half and finished with a game high 21 on 7-12 shooting while shutting down Daly on the other end.
Wright-Foreman came out firing in the second half as well while compiling 15 total points to move into 29th on Hofstra’s all-time scoring list and extend his double-digit scoring streak to 41 games, which stands as the fifth longest in the country.
Rokas Gustys banged the boards as usual with 14 rebounds to accompany his eight points on a perfect 4-4 from the field which places him as the 33rd highest scorer in Hofstra history.
Hofstra will look to extend its three-game winning streak and take sole possession of first place in the CAA on Saturday as they travel to the College of Charleston.