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Hofstra men's basketball holds off William & Mary in triple overtime classic

Hofstra men's basketball holds off William & Mary in triple overtime classic

Sophomore Jalen Ray hit a three-point shot with 37 seconds on the clock to propel Hofstra men’s basketball to a thrilling, 93-90 triple overtime win over the College of William & Mary on Friday, Jan. 10, in Kaplan Arena. 

“There’s something in the water when we play William & Mary,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich. “Always comes down to the crazy finishes. This time we came out on top, but a lot of times they’ve come out on top.”

The win is the team’s 11th consecutive victory, which is good for the nation’s third longest active streak behind No. 2 Michigan (16 games) and No. 4 Virginia (14).

Ray finished the night with a career-high 19 points, his highest total since scoring 18 at James Madison University last January. He converted on five three-point shots, tying a career high. 

Senior Justin Wright-Foreman scored a game-high 37 points in the win, including two big free throws with 18 seconds left in triple overtime to all but seal the win for the Pride. Wright-Foreman was on the floor for 55 minutes of action, a career high.

Juniors Eli Pemberton and Tareq Coburn each also scored in double digits, contributing 14 and 13 points respectively. 

“A lot of people contributed,” Mihalich said. “That’s why we’re a good team.”

The Tribe was led by junior Nathan Knight, who contributed 31 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer in the first overtime period to tie the game and keep William & Mary alive. Teammate Justin Pierce added 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Tribe.

William & Mary (7-10, 3-2) got off to a hot start in the first half, scoring the first six points of the game and forcing Hofstra to take a timeout after only 1:14. 

The Pride (14-3, 4-0) began to climb back into the game but the Tribe held on to a slim lead until Pemberton hit a three-pointer with 4:10 remaining in the first half to give Hofstra the 28-26 lead. The Pride ended the first half on a 10-2 run and took that 10-point lead to the locker room.

Early in the second half, William & Mary put together a 12-0 run to quickly bring themselves within two of the Pride. 

From there, the second half was a back-and-forth battle as neither team held a lead larger than six for the rest of the night. 

Hofstra held a six-point lead with 2:47 remaining in regulation, but the Tribe came storming back and redshirt-junior Matt Milon hit a three-pointer with 32 seconds on the clock to send the game to overtime.

In the first overtime, the Tribe scored the first three points of the period, but Hofstra answered with a 6-0 run to take a three point lead. With about three seconds on the clock, the Tribe launched the ball down the court from the opposite baseline into the hands of the 6-foot-10-inch Knight who grabbed the pass surrounded by two blue shirts and hit a desperation three to tie the game at 75 and send it to a second overtime.

Again, the second overtime came down to the wire with the two teams trading offensive streaks, but Hofstra held a three point lead with 16 seconds left in the period. The Tribe had possession and got the ball to Knight and, once again, he delivered. This time, he converted on a three-point play after being fouled on his jumper.

Ray was the hero of the third overtime period as he hit his game-winner with 37 seconds on the clock. That shot – combined with strong defense and clutch free throw shooting down the stretch – sealed the win for the Pride.

“I think we believe in ourselves. I think we play with a purpose. I think we know we can win,” Mihalich said. “All those things that make a good team a good team ... we have those qualities.”

Next on the docket for the Pride are the Elon Phoenix in the new Schar Center in North Carolina on Saturday, Jan. 12. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Photo courtesy of William & Mary

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