Gustys, Pemberton have career nights in UNCW rout
In one of their most efficient games of the season, the Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team ran through the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks, winning 96-76 on Rokas Gustys’ record-setting night.
A big-time outing for both the team and the individual players, a 20-point win came along with big stat lines all across the roster.
Desure Buie dished out a career-high 10 assists, which certainly aided the 50 combined points from Eli Pemberton and Justin Wright-Foreman.
Pemberton seemed to be in the zone throughout the night, knocking down seven of his 10 shots, with a couple highlight reel three-point plays where hard fouls didn’t stop him from completing the acrobatic lay-in. When getting to the charity stripe, Pemberton took advantage, going 11 for 12.
“I stayed aggressive. Once I started crashing the offensive glass and doing the little things, my game just opened up and made everything easier around it,” Pemberton said.
Standing out on the glass with 16 rebounds was Gustys, whose 1,187th board placed him as Hofstra’s all-time leading rebounder at the Division I level. Gustys now has 1,201 for his career.
“It feels great. Especially when you get the win. I’m happy and I’m very lucky to be here at Hofstra and be coached by [Hofstra head] coach [Joe] Mihalich, and have the players around me who help me a lot. So just putting my name in the record book feels amazing,” Gustys said.
Mihalich also spoke on the significance of the triumph.
“It’s an incredible thing. I’ve said it so many times. Rebounders just don’t get enough credit. They just don’t. Everybody wants to talk about scorers, it’s the nature of our game. What’s 1,200 rebounds? It has to be equal to 2,500 points. It’s an incredible thing. I’m lucky to have him here,” Mihalich said.
While rebounders may not get the credit they deserve, Gustys was treated with a loud ovation from the fans in the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex Thursday night after his career accomplishment was announced.
As a team, Hofstra outshot UNCW 63 percent to 44 percent, converting an outstanding 65 percent of their shots from downtown.
This offensive efficiency, coupled with a 12-rebound advantage for the Pride kept them comfortably ahead for most of the game.
The advantage on the board was crucial for the Pride, considering they were facing statistically the best rebounder in the country, Devontae Cacok, who is averaging 13.1 rebounds per game.
Although early foul trouble may have plagued him, the Pride held the Seahawks’ big man to nine points and eight rebounds, clearly getting the better of Cacok in the matchup.
“Great respect for him. He plays so hard. He plays the game the right way. I thought some of the things we did defensively were able to neutralize him a little bit and we were able to concentrate on him,” Mihalich said.
With the victory, Hofstra now improves to a 14-9 overall record and a 7-4 conference record.