UNCW men's basketball ends six game losing streak at Pride's expense
The Hofstra men’s basketball team suffered a tough defeat on the road at the hands of UNC-Wilmington (UNCW) on Saturday, Feb. 16, losing 87-79 and breaking the Hawks six-game losing streak.
“[UNCW] was the toughest team on the floor tonight. We were tough, but they were probably tough for more minutes than we were,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich. “As I say to the team all the time, ‘The game honors toughness.’ We had to be tough and we weren’t.”
It was a game of runs on Saturday night, as the Pride and the Seahawks took turns going on big scoring runs throughout the game. The Seahawks gained a double-digit lead halfway through the first after an 11-2 run which was answered minutes later by a 15-0 run from Hofstra to regain the lead. However, Hofstra ended up losing it before halftime, trailing by two points as the teams entered the locker rooms.
Another run from UNCW at the start of the second half propelled them into another big lead, and the teams continued trading scoring outbursts for the remainder of the game until a three-pointer from UNCW’s Jay Estime tied the game at 62 with 8:07 left to play. That three-pointer kicked off the game-winning push for the Seahawks as the Pride did not regain the lead the rest of the way.
UNCW was powered by excellent bench play which was the biggest difference-maker in the game. Three players off the bench for the Seahawks – Ty Gadsden, Jeantal Cylla and Jaylen Sims – scored in double figures, with 17, 13 and 12, respectively, while Jay Estime added nine more points off the bench.
The Pride was led by a 30-point performance from senior Justin Wright-Foreman. He shot 9-25 from the field and went 3-9 from beyond the arc while hitting nine of his 10 free throw attempts. He also grabbed seven rebounds in the effort. This marked Wright-Foreman’s 80th consecutive game scoring in double figures.
Junior Eli Pemberton put in an outstanding performance, scoring 22 points in 40 minutes, as he shot 5-8 for the night. He filled the stat line with “threes” as well: three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a perfect 3-3 three-pointers. His turnovers, however, were the only negative caveat to his game, as he committed five of Hofstra’s six total in the game.
Also scoring in double digits for Hofstra was senior Desure Buie who finished the contest with 15 points. Despite a poor shooting night, he tallied five rebounds, four assists and an incredible five steals. Graduate student Jacquil Taylor also added 12 rebounds for the Pride, five of which were offensive, on top of two blocks.
On top of their great play off the bench, the Seahawks were led in scoring by star Devontae Cacok, who finished with a double-double of 18 points and a game-leading 16 rebounds. Kai Toews also earned a double-double for UNCW with 10 points and 11 assists.
“We have to make sure we learn from it, we have to make sure we get better from it,” Mihalich said. “It’s all about responding. We lost a couple of weeks ago and we responded well. Let’s see if we respond on Thursday night.”
After the loss, Hofstra’s record for the season stands at 22-5 and an impressive 12-2 in Colonial Athletic Association play. The Pride will get their chance to respond on Thursday, Feb. 21, when they return to the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex to host Towson University.