Senior guard Eli Pemberton scored the game-winner with 0.5 seconds left in regulation to give the Hofstra men’s basketball team a heart-stopping 74-72 win over Northeastern in Colonial Athletic Association action on Thursday evening at Matthews Arena. Pemberton finished with a team-high 24 points and added four rebounds, while senior guard Desure Buie posted 23 points, four assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Sophomore Isaac Kante notched his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The win, Hofstra’s seventh in its last eight games, improved the Pride’s record to 13-5 and 4-1 in conference play. Northeastern fell to 9-8 and 3-2 in the league. The game was a rematch of the conference championship game from a season ago.
Pemberton moved into 10th place all-time in scoring at Hofstra with his outburst tonight as he now has 1,679 to pass Norman Richardson, who had 1,655 points from 1997-2001.
Hofstra got on the board first via a jumper from junior guard Jalen Ray and a basket from Kante broke an early 2-2 tie at the 18:57 mark of the contest. With the lead at two, 11-9, Hofstra scored seven straight points including five from Pemberton, to open up an 18-9 advantage with 14:22 left before intermission. The Pride would take its first double-digit advantage at the 11:33 mark on a layup from Kante as that came in the midst of an 11-2 run that culminated with a layup from Pemberton with 10:18 left in the opening stanza. Northeastern closed the gap to nine, 29-20, on a three-pointer from Jordan Roland, but Hofstra would extend the lead to 16 at the break as the Pride closed the half by scoring nine of the final 11 points. The last five points of the half came via a three-pointer from Buie and a layup from Ray.
The Pride would still hold a 16-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half before the Huskies scored eight straight points to close to within eight, 42-34, with 17:12 left in regulation following a three-pointer from Roland. Two straight Hofstra baskets, from Buie and Pemberton, pushed the lead back to 12, but Northeastern continued to chip away at the deficit. A jumper from Bolden Brace with 15:28 left got the deficit under double figures for Northeastern and the Huskies would close the Pride lead to five, 53-48, with 9:09 left after another Brace basket. Northeastern would come all the way back to take the lead as Brace gave the home team a 62-61 lead with 5:14 to play. The Huskies still led, 64-63 with just over four minutes left before a huge three-pointer from Buie with 3:15 left put the lead back at two for the Pride, 66-64. Hofstra held the lead for the next three minutes until Roland answered with a three-pointer to knot the score at 72 with just 13 ticks left. The Pride would have the final answer as Pemberton put the exclamation point on his outstanding night with the last-second game-winner.
Ray finished with 12 points for the Pride and added a trio of steals. Roland scored a game-high 28 points for Northeastern, which also got 18 points and 10 rebounds from Brace.
Hofstra will be off for a week until returning to action next Thursday when it travels to UNCW for a 7 p.m. contest.
– Tonight’s game marked the 47th all-time meeting in the series. Hofstra now leads the series, 24-23. The teams first met during the 1949-50 campaign, but the second meeting didn’t occur until the 1994-95 season. The Pride and the Huskies met three times a season ago with Northeastern winning at home and in the CAA Tournament, while the Pride picked up the victory in Hempstead.
– Buie now has 1,035 career points to move into 36th place all-time in program history. He passed John Irving (1,018 from 1974-77) and James Shaffer (1,022 from 1991-95). He also played in the 125th game of his career, three shy of the program record.
– This marks the second straight year Hofstra has defeated Northeastern in the final second as the Pride defeated the Huskies, 75-72, last January at home on a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Justin Wright-Foreman.
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