Men's basketball unable to complete comeback against Virginia Commonwealth University
In a night that featured a promising, come-from-behind performance, the Hofstra men’s basketball team fell just short at the hands of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), 69-67 in overtime on Saturday, Nov. 24, in Richmond, Virginia.
Justin Wright-Foreman led the charge for the Pride, tallying 27 points in 45 minutes and nearly knocking down the game-winning buzzer beater in overtime. The game-winning three-point attempt just missed as Wright-Foreman faced a heavily contested double team, allowing VCU to escape with the narrow victory.
Saturday marked Wright-Foreman’s 59th-straight game scoring in double figures – the fourth-longest streak in the nation.
The Pride persevered throughout the game in front of a rambunctious VCU crowd of 7,637, the 121st consecutive sellout at E.J. Wade Arena. Hofstra was outscored 36-23 in the first half but managed to tie up the game at the end of regulation with an impressive second-half comeback.
An 8-0 run in the second half saved the Pride, bringing the game to a 43-42 score line. The game was back-and-forth the rest of the way.
Eli Pemberton was impressive for the Pride in the second half, giving Hofstra a 47-46 lead with eight minutes left in the game thanks to a three-pointer. In 44 minutes, Pemberton scored 17 points on 4-13 shooting.
After Pemberton’s shot, a layup from Jalen Ray gave Hofstra its largest lead of the second half at 49-46.
Hofstra had a chance to win the game in regulation, but a pair of steals in the final five minutes by VCU’s Marcus Evans prevented the Pride from pulling away.
With 30 seconds remaining in the game, Hofstra had possession and held the ball for the last shot. After Wright-Foreman just missed the contested jumper for the win, Pemberton had a last ditch effort with a catch and toss that was shot just after time had expired.
In overtime, a back-and-forth period ended with a VCU run. A block from junior guard De'Riante Jenkins kept VCU’s lead at one with 1:50 left in overtime. Later in the period, Evans put VCU up 69-67 with 29.4 seconds, making a clutch, contested left-handed layup.
Hofstra was unable to come back from Evans’ dagger. The Pride had two more offensive chances, but the team turned the ball over and then missed a three-pointer at the end of the overtime period.
For the Rams, Jenkins led the way with 19 points in 34 minutes, while Evans tallied 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting and secured five rebounds and three steals.
The 6-foot-10-inch graduate forward Jacquil Taylor was impressive for Hofstra, securing 17 rebounds in 35 minutes, seven more than his previous career high of 10. Ray contributed 14 points on 4-7 shooting, including 2-2 from three-point range.
VCU, now 5-1, improved to 16-5 in the all-time matchup and 10-0 at home against Hofstra, rebounding after the Legend’s Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn where the Rams were defeated by St. John's University in the Championship Game on Tuesday, Nov. 20 – their first loss of the season.
Hofstra falls to 3-3 on the season and will return home to battle Siena University on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Hofstra Athletics