Men's basketball stays undefeated at home with win over Towson
The Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team beat the Towson Tigers 91-82 in a double overtime thriller Thursday night at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. Wright-Foreman’s 28 points led the Pride. Taylor led the team with 17 rebounds to tie a career high. He also scored 14 points and blocked a career-high seven shots.
Although the Pride went home happy, the game itself left a lot to be desired.
“There [were] a lot of reasons that we could’ve lost or should’ve lost, but we didn’t,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich. “We just find a way and it’s a great quality, but we’re flirting with disaster here if we don’t do a better job with our approach.”
Hofstra got off to a slow start, down 14-6 just five minutes in.
“Our energy was way down.” said Hofstra guard Justin Wright-Foreman “That translated to the game, so we started off slow, and then, we dug [ourselves] a hole.”
The Pride went on to score 11 of the next 15 points to put them down one. Hofstra eventually took a 24-23 lead after two free throws from Tareq Coburn. It was back and forth from that point. Eli Pemberton ended the first half with a slam dunk to give the Pride a 39-37 lead.
The low energy bit the Pride midway through the second half, as the team was down 61-51 after an 11-0 scoring run by the Tigers, highlighted by two layups from Uyaelunmo Solomon and a jumper by Allen Betrand which turned into a three-point score after a trip to the foul line. The Pride had to play catchup in the middle of the second half.
“We were down nine with seven minutes to go,” Mihalich said. “In the huddle, we were talking about how we beat Northeastern when we were down nine with four minutes to go.”
Jalen Ray stopped the bleeding for Hofstra with a three-pointer with 8:20 left in the second half to cut the deficit to seven. Solomon’s dunk put the Tigers up by nine with under eight minutes to go. Ray hit another three. Jacquil Taylor’s two free throws and Wright-Foreman’s layup and three-pointer decreased the deficit to one with 5:48 to go. Wright-Foreman would later hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 68.
Desure Buie hit two free throws to put the Pride up 72-70 with 1:35 left, but Nakye Sanders’ layup would eventually send the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, the Pride had to play catch up a third time, down six points with 3:30 left. Ray nailed a three with just over three minutes remaining. After a Brian Fobbs layup, Buie hit a three and later on hit two free throws to make it 80-80. Although Wright-Foreman scored a layup with just under 30 seconds, Solomon hit a jump shot to add on another five minutes.
The Pride started off the second overtime strong, with Taylor and Wright-Foreman making a layup and jumper respectively to make it 86-82. Buie got a defensive rebound after Dennis Tunstall’s missed jumper. After Wright-Foreman missed a jump shot, Ray made a three to make it 89-82 with 1:22 left. Wright-Foreman’s dunk under a minute later made the final score 91-82.
Buie, Pemberton and Ray each had double-digit performances. Of Ray’s 17 points, 15 were from three.
“[Ray] made shots when we needed them,” Mihalich said.. “He had five rebounds, he had five assists, no turnovers [and] made five threes.”
“There [are] probably a lot of good sixth men in the league, but he’s as good a sixth man as there is,” Mihalich added.
Fobbs led both teams in scoring with 29 points. Tobias Howard added 14 points. Sanders and Tunstall recorded 11 and 10 rebounds respectively en route to double-doubles.
Also, Wright-Foreman passed Rich Laurel’s 2,102 points to become fifth all-time in Hofstra’s history. He now has 2,117 points.
“I’m just very appreciative to be in the position I’m in,” Wright-Foreman said.
The Pride now stand at 13-2 in CAA play and 23-5 overall. The Tigers fall to 6-9 against the CAA and 10-18 overall.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Pride will have a senior day before their final home game against James Madison University. The team will honor Taylor, Wright-Foreman, Kenny Wormley and Dan Dwyer. The ceremony will start around 3:50 p.m.
“It’s going to be very emotional for all of us,” Wright-Foreman said. “I was here for four years. Everybody here just welcomed me with open arms, and I couldn’t be more thankful for everybody just treating me the way they’ve been.”
Tip off against JMU is set for 4 p.m. at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics