Hofstra erased a 16-point halftime deficit, its largest of the season, to tie the game in the second half but Northeastern outscored Hofstra, 28-20, over the final 8:50 to post an 82-74 win in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game Tuesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. The Huskies claimed the CAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Hofstra saw its four-game winning streak end and slipped to 27-7 on the season. Northeastern won for the seventh consecutive game and improved to 23-10.
Justin Wright-Foreman led all scorers with 29 points and became the all-time leader in single season points at Hofstra and in the CAA with 919. Eli Pemberton was the only other Pride player in double figures, with 15 points. Jacquil Taylor had eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Tareq Coburn added nine points while Desure Buie had eight points and three assists.
Neither team got off to a great start offensively. The Huskies led 4-3 at the first media timeout. Anthony Green gave Northeastern a 2-0 lead with a pair of free throws 1:31 into the game. Coburn gave Hofstra its first points following a dunk and a free throw at the 3:01 mark before Green put the Huskies back on top with a jumper in the paint with 16:07 to go. After Wright-Foreman put the Pride up, 5-4, with a long two-point jumper, the Huskies went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-5 lead with 13:08 to play in the half. Vasa Pusica had two three-pointers in the run. Hofstra used a 7-3 spurt to get within three, 15-12, before the Huskies went on another 8-0 run to take an 11-point lead (23-12) with 7:45 to go. Northeastern would eventually build the lead to 18, 40-22 and 42-24, before settling for a 16-point halftime advantage (42-26).
Hofstra opened the second half with an 8-0 run of its own to cut the deficit in half. Taylor started things off with a layup followed by three free throws from Wright-Foreman. Coburn capped the run with a three-pointer to make it 42-34 with 18:02 on the clock. After a pair of free throws from Northeastern, Wright-Foreman scored back-to-back baskets to make it a 44-38 game with 16:30 to go and forced a Northeastern timeout.
Northeastern went back up by 10, 54-44, on Pusica’s three-pointer with 13:12 to go. But Hofstra responded with a 10-0 run to tie the score at 54 with 9:13 to play on a pair of Taylor free throw. Northeastern scored six unanswered points to go up, 60-54, with 7:44 remaining. The Huskies would go up by as many as 11 points, 71-60, with 3:58 to play on Pusica’s sixth three-pointer of the game. Hofstra would cut the lead to five following a 6-0 run over the next 1:55. But that was as close as the Pride would get. The Huskies would hit 8-10 free throws in the final 1:05 to seal the win and their second CAA championship in five seasons.
Pusica led the Huskies with 21 points on a career-best seven three-pointers. Jordan Roland, Shawn Occeus, and Tomas Murphy had 11 points each. Bolden Brace had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Huskies had 14 three-pointers in the game compared to Hofstra’s six.
Hofstra will learn its postseason fate on Sunday, March 17.
-Hofstra was making its third CAA Championship Game appearance (2006, 2016).
-Wright-Foreman’s 919 points surpassed Rich Laurel, who had 908 points for Hofstra in 1976-77.
-Wright-Foreman’s new CAA scoring mark surpassed the previous record of 903 set by David Robinson in 1986-87.
-Wright-Foreman scored in double-figures for the 87th consecutive game. It is the second-longest active streak in the nation and is the seventh-longest streak all-time in NCAA Division I history.
-Hofstra is 23-23 all-time against Northeastern
-Wright-Foreman took over second place on the all-time Hofstra scoring list with 2,298 points, passing Antoine Agudio (2,276 from 2004-08).
– Pemberton moved past Ken Rood (1,368, 1973-77) into 14th place on the Hofstra scoring list with 1,381.
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