Cold shooting dooms Pride in shocking loss to UNCW
Hofstra men’s basketball suffered its biggest loss in CAA play this season on Saturday night at Trask Coliseum, falling 90-70 against defending league champion UNC-Wilmington.
Poor shooting performances by star guards Justin Wright-Foreman and Eli Pemberton left the Pride helpless on offense. The duo combined to shoot just 32 percent, going 9-28 from the floor and 2-11 from beyond the arc.
“It’s that time of the year where we’ve got to have a short memory,” said head coach Joe Mihalich.
“We are just going to burn the tape and move on.”
UNCW was led by an incredibly efficient performance from Devontae Cacok.
The junior forward scored 25 points on 11-13 shooting and added 16 rebounds.
Cacok has typically been ineffective against Hofstra, but he was truly dominant in this contest with eight rebounds on the offensive end, giving the Seahawks plenty of second chances that ultimately put the game out of reach.
Hofstra senior Rokas Gustys did his best to erase Cacok’s efforts by chipping in a double-double of his own with 13 points and 10 boards.
The double-double was Gustys’ eleventh on the season, giving him 45 for his college career.
The second half was particularly rough for the Pride as they fell apart on both ends of the floor, giving up 48 points and shooting a lowly 31 percent from the field.
Hofstra lost the battle of the boards as well, getting outrebounded 48-33 on the day.
The poor shooting could explain a lackadaisical effort with hustle which affected other areas of the game too.
This year’s squad has been incredibly streaky, setting nets on fire in some games and going ice cold in others.
Teams that rely primarily on jump-shooting to spark their offense can often suffer because of it, but that should be no excuse for a lack of hustle and aggression on defense. Particularly when this squad knows they can beat this UNCW team.
On Feb. 1, when these teams faced off on Hofstra’s home floor, it was the Pride that walked away with the 20-point victory.
“It’s really simple, you’ve got to defend and rebound against this team,” Mihalich said. “We didn’t do either.”
Hofstra, currently 15-11 (8-6 CAA), will now try to forget this game ever happened and shift its mindset to Thursday’s 7 p.m. home game against the College of William & Mary. UNCW, 8-17 (5-8), will turn its attention toward a Tuesday night game at James Madison.