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Strong first half for men's basketball not enough in loss to Maryland

Strong first half for men's basketball not enough in loss to Maryland

It was a tale of two halves for the Hofstra men's basketball team in their 80-69 loss to the Maryland University Terrapins on Friday night, Nov. 16, in College Park. Justin Wright-Foreman led the way for the Pride, scoring 27 points. The Terrapins were led by sophomore Bruno Fernando, who had 17.

The Pride (2-2) controlled the matchup in the first half, heading to the locker room with a six-point lead over the Terps. However, the Terrapins (4-0) dominated the second half, outscoring the Pride by 17 on their way to the victory.

“I think we outplayed them for 25 minutes,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Michalich. “[Against] a good team like [Maryland], you can’t just play 25 minutes.”

Hofstra is now 0-5 against the Terrapins all-time, 0-1 since Maryland moved to the Big 10 conference in 2014.

This game was the biggest test for the Hofstra big men so far this season. Graduate transfers Jacquil Taylor and Dan Dwyer had a tough task ahead of them, having to control Maryland’s strong big men Fernando and Jalen Smith. Taylor and Dwyer double-teamed Fernando in the first half, forcing him to make passes, leading to poor shots and turnovers. 

However, Hofstra had trouble controlling Fernando in the second half, as he used his size down low to record 11 points in the second half alone, finishing with 17 on a pristine 8-8 from the field. That’s only the 12th performance of 8-8 from the field or better in Maryland’s history.

“At the end of the day, [Fernando] got the best of [Taylor],” Mihalich said. “[Taylor] needs help ... from his teammates.”

Taylor and Dwyer struggled to grab rebounds and effectively defend in the second half, which allowed Maryland to gain rhythm and momentum even though they were struggling to hit jump shots. The Pride were outrebounded by a total of 42-24.

Wright-Foreman continued his strong senior season with his fourth consecutive 20-plus point performance. He has scored double digits in his last 57 games, just one game shy of tying Charles Johnson for Hofstra’s record of most consecutive games with double-digit scoring. 

Another bright spot for the Pride on offense was St. Bonaventure transfer Tareq Coburn. Coburn stayed on the floor for more minutes than he has in each of his first three games, turning in his best performance this season. Coburn scored 10 points on 4-6 shooting, providing a spark for the offense.

“I was proud of how he kept his poise and composure and went out there and decided he was going to show everybody that he could play,” Mihalich said.

With the loss to Maryland, Hofstra finished their tough stretch of four games in eight days to start the season.

“We knew it’d be tough,” Mihalich said. “A lot of positives came out of these four games, so we’re going to improve on those ... and try to get better.” 

The Pride look to bounce back at home against the California State University Fullerton Titans on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Photo Courtesy of Hofstra Athletics

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