Wright-Foreman's 37 leads Hofstra basketball past Cal State Fullerton
Hofstra basketball added another to the win column Wednesday night, Nov. 21, as they took down California State University Fullerton 80-71 at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
Hofstra’s Thanksgiving eve win put them back over .500, continuing a win/loss pattern that has taken place since the start of the season in which the Pride has taken all three at home while falling short on the road both times.
The Pride, carried by Justin Wright-Foreman’s 37 points, took the game by storm in the first half, creating a lead that was too large to overcome despite a second half where the Titans outscored Hofstra 42-39.
“That’s a really good team,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich. “We did a great job defensively in the first half. We made them look like an average team but it’s a good team. [Kyle Allman, Jr. and Khalil Ahmad] are terrific, and I thought we did a great job.”
Allman Jr. was facing more than the Hofstra Pride in this matchup; he was going up against his former high school teammate in Wright-Foreman for the first time since the two players graduated.
Allman Jr. and Wright-Foreman both attended the High School for Construction-Trades, Engineering and Architecture in Queens, New York.
Although Wright-Foreman finished the game with a season high in points, nearly reaching 40, Allman Jr. added one extra point to finish with a game high of 38 for the Titans.
“I’m proud of Justin’s composure, he could’ve easily tightened up or tried too hard, or taken it really personal between the two of them but he didn’t,” Mihalich said. “Justin showed tonight that he cares more about letters than numbers – the letter w – because we got the [win].”
And just in case the one-point advantage may make it appear that Allman Jr. got the best of Wright-Foreman, Mihalich is there to clear up any misperceptions. “By the way, the numbers were better anyway. The other guy might’ve gotten one point more, but [Wright-Foreman] had six assists, one turnover and five rebounds. That’s a pretty good night’s work.”
While Wright-Foreman’s all-around game was what stood him apart in the matchup, his 37 points were enough to move him into third place among the nation’s top scorers as he’s now averaging 28 points on the season while shooting an incredibly efficient 48 percent from the field.
The matchup between the two teams had a competitive start as the teams were tied up at 12, and later close-knit at 21-20. However, the Pride separated themselves behind a 20-9 run to enter the break with a 41-29 advantage.
Continuing this effort at the start of the second, Hofstra hit six of their first eight shots within the first six minutes of the game, jumping out to a dominant 55-36 lead.
The Titans would fight back, however, as Allman Jr. paved the way for a Titan 19-9 run as the senior guard knocked down back-to-back threes for the Titans.
The Brooklyn native scored 25 in the half alone, converting on eight of 11 shots from the field, including six from beyond the arc.
While Cal State Fullerton continued to threaten Hofstra’s lead with various runs throughout the half, time and time again Hofstra regained their composure with a small run of their own.
After the Allman Jr.-led spurt that brought the Titans within 10 of the Pride, Hofstra responded with a 7-1 run, stepping back out to a 16-point lead that put them in a comfortable position as the time wound down in the closing minutes of the game.
Junior guard Eli Pemberton was another key contributor for the Pride, also putting up a season high with 20 points in the victory. He complemented his strong scoring night with six rebounds and three assists while going nearly perfect from the free-throw line, shooting 8-9.
Now 3-2, the Pride look ahead to Virginia Commonwealth University, where they hope to attain their first win streak of the season while grabbing their first road win this season as well.
The matchup will take place in Richmond, Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Hofstra Athletics