Men's basketball survives late Charleston rally
The Hofstra men’s basketball team held on for a key road win 99-95 on Valentine’s Day at TD Arena at the College of Charleston. The Pride move to 12-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) with five games remaining before the CAA Tournament.
“Two great teams going toe to toe, great players, great atmosphere, we were lucky enough to hang on there at the end. We had the big lead thank goodness,” Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich said. “If the game [went] much longer I’m not sure we could have held on, but we did and we made the plays at the end that we had to.”
With 10:33 to go it seemed that the Pride win was all but wrapped up with a lead of 24. But in the next five minutes, Charleston cut the lead down to 12 following a Jarrell Brantley dunk. With 5:18 remaining and the Pride pushing the lead back up to 14, Hofstra went silent on the floor, not scoring another field goal the rest of the game. The final nine points came from free throws for Hofstra and were just enough as they survived the 19-9 run by Charleston to end the game.
“This is definitely going to motivate us more,” senior Justin Wright-Foreman said. “We are just going to stay hungry and watch film when we can and learn from it and improve our mistakes.”
Wright-Foreman led the charge for Hofstra with 30 points, moving him to No. 6 all-time in scoring at Hofstra.
Eli Pemberton added 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Tareq Coburn finished with 14 points and Desure Buie ended with nine points and 10 assists. Jacquil Taylor picked up eight rebounds.
“We don’t win the game without Jacquil Taylor,” Mihalich said. “He gets the big offensive rebound at the end of the game, his defense was good and he makes the two tough foul shots at the end.”
For the Cougars, Grant Riller kept Charleston in the game with 43 points and six assists.
“He just made shots when his team needed him to and he took control of the game,” Wright-Foreman said. “We weren’t going to let it faze us.”
Charleston shot 61 percent from beyond the arc in the second half compared to 45 percent from the Pride. The Cougars picked up 14 points off of the eight Pride turnovers.
With the loss, the Cougars see their six-game win streak come to an end and fall to 20-7 (9-5 CAA).
The Pride sweep the season series with Charleston and move to 22-4 (12-1 CAA), keeping their two-game lead in the CAA standings. Hofstra has now won 19 of their last 20 games. Their 22-4 start ties the program’s best-ever Division I start to a season.
The Pride is on the road Saturday, Feb. 16, as they travel to UNC-Wilmington for a matchup with the Seahawks.