In a battle of the top two teams in the Colonial Athletic Association, Hofstra posted an impressive wire-to-wire victory over Charleston, 76-63, Thursday night at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. The win, Hofstra’s fifth in a row, keeps the Pride atop the CAA standings.
Hofstra moved to 19-7 overall and 10-3 in the CAA with the victory. Charleston, which lost for the second time in as many games, slipped to 15-11 overall and 9-5 in league action.
Eli Pemberton led the way for Hofstra with a career and season-high tying 28 points, including 16 in the second half. The senior guard was 10-14 from the floor, 2-3 from beyond the arc, and 6-6 from the free throw line. He added five rebounds and tied a career-high with four steals. Jalen Ray had 14 points for the Pride while Desure Buie added 13 points, six assists, and two steals. Isaac Kante posted his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Hofstra jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes behind five points from Buie and a basket from Kante. Charleston would get on the board with a three-pointer with 17:35 on the clock and got to within four, 11-7, at the first media timeout with 15:03 remaining. The Pride would then embark on a 13-6 run to take a 25-13 lead on a three-point play from Pemberton with 9:30 to go. The Pride’s lead would grow to 11, 36-25, following Buie’s three-pointer with 4:06 to go and then to 14, 39-25, with 2:38 to play on Pemberton’s triple. The Cougars would close the half on a 5-2 spurt as Hofstra led, 41-30, at the break. Both teams shot well in the opening 20 minutes, as the Pride was at 53.1 percent and the Cougars 50 percent.
Charleston would open the second half on a 7-2 run to pull within six, 43-37, following a Grant Riller dunk with 16:31 to go. Hofstra responded with an 11-5 run to open up a 12-point lead, 54-42, with 12:03 remaining after Pemberton stole the ball and went in for a fast break dunk. The lead remained double-digits the rest of the way and grew to 16 points after a Pemberton three-point play with 5:24 on the clock. After a Riller basket, Tareq Coburn drained a three to make it a 17-point lead and Ray buried two free throws for a 19-point advantage, 72-53, with 4:07 to go. Charleston would make the final score more respectable by closing the game on a 10-4 run.
Riller led the Cougars with 27 points and was the only Charleston player to score in double-figures.
Hofstra is back in action Saturday afternoon at home versus UNCW. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. and tickets can be purchased by calling (516) HOF-TIXX or by visiting HofstraTickets.com.
-The series between Hofstra and Charleston is now tied, 7-7. The teams split the season series.
-Buie’s six assists moved him past Charles Jenkins (2007-11) into fifth-place on the Hofstra career assists list with 492.
-Hofstra Coach Joe Mihalich won his 399th career game and looks to become the 51st active Division I coach with 400 victories against UNCW Saturday.
-Pemberton had two three-pointers and moved into a tie for fifth place on the Hofstra career list with 192, tying Norman Richardson (1997-01).
-Hofstra shot 55 percent for the game and controlled the glass with a 34-22 rebounding advantage.
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