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Men’s basketball runs through Delaware to clinch first outright CAA title

Men’s basketball runs through Delaware to clinch first outright CAA title

The Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team finished the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular season the same way they started it, with a win over the Delaware University Fightin’ Blue Hens. This time, though, by a score of 92-69 on Saturday, March 2. With the win, the Pride have clinched the No. 1 seed outright in the CAA tournament, with a conference record of 15-3.

“All we did was clinch a tie for the [CAA regular season] title the other night. We wanted to have it to ourselves,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich. “In life, you’re not supposed to be selfish, but we didn’t want to have to share that.”

For the 24th time this season, Justin Wright-Foreman led the Pride in scoring with 28 points.

The Pride took control early in the first half, leading by as many as 16 and never relinquishing the 9-7 lead they took with 15:05 remaining in the half. After a Ryan Johnson layup for Delaware tied the game at seven, Hofstra rattled off a 21-8 run over the next seven minutes to take a comfortable 28-15 lead.

Efficiency was the biggest key to the Pride’s success in Saturday’s game. They shot 53.8 percent from the field in the first half, while holding the Blue Hens to under 40 percent from the field. Wright-Foreman scored 17 points in the first half on 7-9 shooting, including 3-4 from behind the arc. His first half stats are made all the more impressive by the fact that he amassed three fouls, limiting him to only 12 minutes in the half.

“I thought we had great energy, I thought we were in attack mode,” Mihalich said. “I thought the enthusiasm, energy and emotion were really good today.”

Due to the foul trouble for Wright-Foreman, Mihalich had to get creative with his lineup to end the half, putting Kenny Wormley on the floor for the ninth time this season. Wormley grabbed a rebound and contributed on defense in his time on the court.

“I thought he went in and did a really good job,” Mihalich said. “It was only a couple of minutes [and] a couple of possessions, but he made a big stop at the end of the half which would’ve given [Delaware] some momentum.”

The lead they developed in the first half grew important at the beginning of the second half, when the Blue Hens caught fire early. They started off 11-15 from the field, including six made shots in a row. Fortunately, the Pride were able to match the Blue Hens shot for shot, shooting 65.5 percent from the field in the half. This allowed them to keep and even extend their lead.

Delaware had no answer for the duo of Wright-Foreman and Eli Pemberton in the second half. The two combined for 24 points on 10-17 in the last 20 minutes, with Pemberton attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line while Wright-Foreman used his handle to create good looks.

This kind of win came at a good time for the Pride, as their last six games have all been decided by single digits, including their only loss at home this season.

“Tonight really was a statement win [to ourselves]. We really feel good about ourselves,” Mihalich said

With CAA regular season play wrapped up, the seeding for the upcoming conference tournament are official.

With Hofstra as the top seed, they will face the winner of the game between James Madison University and Towson University. While the Pride are 2-0 against the Tigers and 1-1 against the Dukes on the season, they have had recent trouble with both. It took two overtimes for the Pride to beat the Tigers at home and their most recent game against the Dukes was an overtime loss – their only home loss of the season.

Regardless of who’s on the court to face them, the Pride will next play on Sunday, March 10 at the College of Charleston.

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