The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team suffered a frustrating 79-74 loss to the University of North Carolina-Wilmington at the Mack Sports Complex on Saturday.
Hofstra had five players in double figures, but were outscored 40-18 in the paint while hitting just 6-of-21 shots from behind the three-point arc.
Ameen Tanksley led the Pride with 19 points while both Moussa Kone and Juan’ya Green finished the game with 14 points. Tanksley also led Hofstra with eight rebounds during the game.
Addison Spruill led the Seahawks with 23 points, followed by Freddie Jackson with 21. Jackson left the game momentarily early in the second half with an apparent ankle injury but he returned a few minutes later to help lead the Seahawks to victory.
“We get what we deserve and we just didn’t deserve to win,” admitted Hofstra Head Coach Joe Mihalich after the game.
The Pride played well in the first half and led 38-33 after 20 minutes. The key was strong free throw shooting as the Pride shot 18-of-21 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Hofstra’s best play came midway through the opening half when they went on an 8-0 run to put the home team ahead 24-17. Six of the eight points came on free throws.
UNCW managed to cut the lead down to just two points on a jump shot by Freddie Jackson with 1:14 to go in the first half. Green was fouled from outside the three-point line at the buzzer of the first half and made all three free throws to put Hofstra ahead by five points at the break.
But the second half was a different story. Hofstra came out flat, especially on defense. They allowed UNCW to take too many shots from inside the paint and were unable to do the same on the offensive side of the court.
It took just 1:10 for UNCW to tie the game and it went back and forth for the first 15 minutes of the second half. In all, there were 13 lead changes in a back-and-forth contest filled with a lot of fouls and not a lot of flow. Rokas Gustys fouled out for Hofstra while C.J. Gettys and Jordan Talley both fouled out for UNCW.
The Seahawks scored the first seven points of the second half and later went on an 11-1 run that turned a 69-63 Hofstra lead into a 74-70 advantage for UNCW.
“We turned a lead into a nip and tuck game down the stretch,” Mihalich said. “Then, in the last five minutes, they made plays and we didn’t.”
When asked about his team’s failure to score any points off the fast break in the second half, Mihalich connected that failure to his team’s poor defensive play.
“You can’t fast break when you don’t stop them and we didn’t stop them,” the coach explained. “We didn’t defend, we didn’t guard and we didn’t rebound when we had to, so we didn’t fast break.”
The loss dropped Hofstra to 13-6 on the season and 4-2 in the CAA. They split the season series with UNCW.
Hofstra returns to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. when they host Drexel at the Mack Sports Center.
Moussa Kone blocked two shots to give him 101 in his career.
Attendance was 1,839.
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