By Nico Bermudez -- STAFF WRITER
After a nail-biter between the Hofstra men’s basketball team and Towson University, it was freshman Jalen Ray who hit the game-winning three at the buzzer to give the Pride a 76-73 victory on Thursday night at SECU Arena.
“We’ve had some clunkers this year, but you don’t even think of them right now. The resiliency this team has, the refuse-to-lose attitude, the belief in themselves, the toughness down the stretch – these are all championship qualities,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich after the win.
The Pride trailed for most of the contest, but were able to hang tough and take a one-point lead with just over a minute to play. After Towson regained the lead and made it a 73-70 game with just 26 seconds left, Hofstra seemed to be running out of time.
However, Justin Wright-Foreman would silence the Towson crowd with a game-tying three-pointer, knotting it at 73. After a missed three-ball on the Tigers’ end of the court, the stage was set for Ray, who had already drilled one buzzer-beater earlier in the year at Monmouth University.
Wright-Foreman got the ball up the court to Ray, who just got the ball out of his hands before the game clock expired. The shot was good, and the Pride were able to sneak out of SECU Arena with a victory over a Towson team that many people had pegged as one of the Colonial Athletic Association’s toughest teams.
In the postgame press conference, Mihalich pointed out the team’s refusal to let a game get away from them so easily. There were points in this game where the Pride were down by double digits, and they even had some questionable calls by the referees that didn’t go their way. Despite all the adversity, the Pride didn’t let it get in their way as they ended up victorious, thanks to some late-game heroics from Ray and one final contribution from Wright-Foreman, who seemed to factor in on every important possession the Pride had on Thursday.
“Mike Farrelly, our assistant coach, made a great comment and I think he’s right. That might be the best play Justin Wright-Foreman ever made,” Mihalich said.
“He had his team on his mind and he knew that was the right play. He’s not just a good scorer, he’s a good basketball player.”
Wright-Foreman ended the night with 35 points along with six assists and five rebounds. He’s currently averaging over 25 points per game, good for third in the nation. Eli Pemberton had 12 points, and Rokas Gustys added 10 points and five rebounds.
With this victory against Towson, the Pride now move to 10-7 overall with a 3-2 CAA record. Their next game is scheduled for Saturday on the road against Drexel University who are just 1-4 in conference play.