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Men’s basketball pulls away late in victory over Rider

Men’s basketball pulls away late in victory over Rider

In a hard-fought game in which every possession counted, the Hofstra men’s basketball team defeated Rider 89-73 on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.

Senior Justin Wright-Foreman again led the way for the Pride, following up on his 30-point performance against Rider last season with 24 points and six assists in the game. Wright-Foreman scored in double figures in his 63rd consecutive game, good for second in the nation.

With Saturday’s victory over Rider, Hofstra has now won four consecutive games, including wins over Siena, Kennesaw State and Monmouth.

“That was a great win,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich. “We beat a very good team. That team is going to win the league and they are a top-50 team in the country.”

The Pride continued their dominance at home, improving to 7-3 on the season and securing their ninth-straight victory in Hempstead dating back to last season. That is Hofstra’s second-longest home court win streak since the Pride joined the Colonial Athletic Association.

“Our crowd was into it today,” Wright-Foreman said. “We always talk about defending the home court, and to be unbeaten at home, that is tough. You can’t come play here and play an easy game.”

Tareq Coborn opened up the scoring for the Pride with an impressive layup in which he drove past the entire Rider defense. Coborn emerged as one of the team’s best players in his first start of the season, notching 19 points and two timely three-pointers.

“I was nervous starting,” Coborn said. “I have not started in two or three years. I just had to come out strong and show everybody what I could do.”

With 11 minutes left in the game, Coborn put his body on the line, diving for a rebound and landing hard. It was that type of effort that allowed the Pride to emerge victorious.

“I landed on my back. I thought I would need a day off. It was a tough fall but I had to get up and keep fighting,” Coborn said.

Jalen Ray gave the Pride a 44-39 halftime lead with a buzzer beater three-pointer that excited the Hofstra crowd. After Rider took an offensive foul with seven seconds left in the first half, the Pride made them pay, increasing the lead to five and carrying important momentum over to the second half.

“We put five guards on the floor and I think it surprised them a little bit,” Mihalich said. “Shots like that are so important. It was a three-point shot but it felt like a six-point shot.”

The second half was back-and-forth, with fouls slowing down a dominant offensive performance by both teams.

The officiating was a source of conflict throughout the game, as Mihalich was frequently questioning calls from the bench. Both Jacquil Taylor and Dan Dwyer tallied three fouls early into the second half — Dwyer eventually fouled out — limiting Mihalich’s frontcourt options.

However, the Pride overcame this by dominating the boards, securing 18 more rebounds than Rider.

“The centers have been good — 14 points and 13 rebounds between the two of them,” Mihalich said. “It is really good stuff.”

Behind gutsy second half play from all players, the Pride pulled away late. To the delight of the fans, Taylor and Coborn ended the game with an emphatic slam dunk each.

Rider’s inability to convert at the line also helped out the Pride’s cause. Rider missed 11 free throws, allowing Hofstra to maintain a small lead throughout most of the game.

On the bright side for the Broncs, Stevie Jordan played a very strong game, tallying 17 points on 7-10 shooting to go along with two assists.

Rider falls to 2-3 on the season and has yet to win a game this year when trailing at halftime. Saturday was the Broncs first game in 10 days following a loss to West Virginia at WVU Coliseum on Wednesday, Nov. 28. That comes after a 12-day break between the team’s season opener and second game.

The Pride’s next challenge will take place on Monday, Dec. 10 against Manhattan at Draddy Gymnasium, where they will look to make it five wins in a row.

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