Senior Eli Pemberton had 19 points (15 in second half) and a career-high tying 12 rebounds and the Hofstra men’s basketball team dominated in the second half en route to a 61-43 victory over Drexel in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Hercules Tires Men’s CAA Basketball Championship at the Entertainment and Sports Arena on Sunday afternoon.
It marks the fewest points Hofstra has allowed in a CAA Tournament game since joining the league in 2001-02. In addition, it is the second-fewest points a Mihalich-coached Hofstra team has ever allowed and the fewest in a CAA Tournament game since Georgia State beat Delaware, 54-41, in 2009.
The Pride placed four in double figures as senior Desure Buie had 14 points and eight assists, junior Jalen Ray posted 14 points, and sophomore Isaac Kante added 13 points and six rebounds.
Hofstra won for the 10th time in its last 11 games and improved to 24-8 this season. Drexel sees its season come to an end with a 14-19 record.
Hofstra scored the first five points of the game as Pemberton opened the scoring and then was followed by a Buie three-pointer at the 17:27 mark. Drexel would answer with an 11-0 scoring run to take an 11-5 lead at the 11:37 mark after four straight points from James Butler. The low-scoring first half would see the Pride rebound to even the score at 11 on a layup from Ray. Trailing by five with under seven minutes left in the half, Hofstra gradually chipped away and scored eight of the final 10 points in the half to take a three-point lead into the break courtesy of an old-fashioned three-point play from Kante with 1:30 remaining before intermission.
A determined Pemberton scored Hofstra’s first seven points of the second half as the Pride extended its advantage to 10, 32-22, with 17:45 left in regulation. After the Dragons closed the gap to seven moments later, Pemberton came up huge once again as he back-to-back baskets during a 7-0 Hofstra run that made the score 39-25 with 14:11 left. The Pride would take its first 20-point lead later in the half as Buie drained a jumper and was followed up by a Ray layup to push the lead to a commanding 55-35 advantage with 8:14 remaining. The Pride would not be challenged the rest of the way as they moved on to the semifinals.
Butler finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for Drexel, while Zach Walton posted 17 points for the Dragons.
Hofstra will face Delaware on Monday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals of the CAA Championship. That game will air nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
– Hofstra is 44-44 all-time against Drexel. The Pride swept all three meetings this season.
– Hofstra advances to the CAA semifinals for the second straight year.
– Hofstra and Delaware split the two regular season meetings with each winning on their opponent’s home court.
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