After 19 years without an NCAA Tournament bid, the wait is over as the Pride defeated Northeastern, 70-61, Tuesday night in the championship game of the 2020 Hercules Tires Colonial Athletic Association Championship at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The Pride last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2001. Hofstra outscored the Huskies, 26-13, over the final eight minutes to erase a four-point deficit.
CAA Championship Most Outstanding Player Desure Buie scored a game-high 20 points to lead three Hofstra players in double figures. The graduate student also added five rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Eli Pemberton scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out three assists. Jalen Ray had 17 points and a career-high eight rebounds. Isaac Kante posted nine points and pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds.
Hofstra, which has won 12 of the last 13 games, moved to 26-8 on the season. Northeastern is 17-16.
Both teams started slowly, missing a combined eight shots before Buie drained a three-pointer for the first points on the game more than two minutes into the contest. Northeastern shook off their rough start and scored 10 unanswered points over the next 1:39 to take a 10-3 lead and force a Hofstra timeout. The Huskies would continue to maintain the lead but Hofstra used a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to two, 14-12, following a long two-point jumper from Buie with 9:17 to play. A 7-3 Northeastern spurt pushed the Huskies lead back to six, 21-15, with 7:26 remaining.
Jordan Roland had a three and Maxime Boursiquot followed with back-to-back buckets. The Pride would get a three from Pemberton and three free throws from Ray to tie the score at 21 with 5:50 to go. Buie would put Hofstra back on top, 24-21, after a deep three from Buie with 5:18 on the clock. The Huskies would match the three on their next possession to tie the score at 24. The teams would trade baskets for the next few minutes before both went scoreless for more than two minutes. Shaq Walters would hit a turnaround jumper in the paint with 10 seconds left to send the Huskies into the locker room with a 30-28 lead.
The Huskies scored first in the second half, a three-pointer by Bolden Brace, but Hofstra went on an 8-0 run capped off by a fast break dunk from Tareq Coburn to take a 36-33 lead with 17:14 remaining. The Huskies scored the next five points to go up by two, 38-36, after Boursiquot’s layup with 15:48 to go. Hofstra retook the lead and led by three, 41-38, with 14:11 to play. The Pride would then go scoreless for nearly six minutes though the Huskies scored just seven points in that stretch and opened a 45-41 lead. Pemberton’s three snapped the drought and pulled Hofstra to within one, 45-44, with 8:21 to play. Brace answered with a three of his own to make it a four-point Northeastern lead with 8:00 on the clock.
Hofstra came out of the under eight minute media timeout with an 8-0 run highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers from Ray that gave the Pride a 52-48 advantage with 6:05 to play. The lead would grow to six, 58-52, following two free throws from Ray with 3:06 to go. A three-point play from Buie pushed the lead to nine before a basket from Northeastern hit a shot to cut the lead to seven. However, Buie knocked down another three with 1:36 to go to give the Pride a double-digit advantage, 64-54.
Northeastern would not go quietly as Roland hit a three but Hofstra hit all six of its free throws in the final 1:03 to seal the win and send the Pride to the NCAA Tournament.
Boursiquot led Northeastern with 15 points and nine rebounds. Brace added 13 points while Roland and Walters had 11 points each.
Hofstra will learn its NCAA destination when the bracket is released on Sunday, March 15 at 6 p.m.
– Hofstra will be making its ninth NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth at the NCAA Division I level.
– Hofstra leads the all-time series with Northeastern, 26-23. The Pride won all three games this year.
– Hofstra’s 26 wins is one shy of the school record of 27 set in 2018-19.
– Buie moved past Kenny Adeleke into 18th place on the Hofstra career-scoring list with 1,310 points.
– Pemberton moved into sole possession of second place in career games played with 129.
– Hofstra Coach Joe Mihalich has now taken two teams to the NCAA Tournament after leading Niagara to the Big Dance in 2005 and 2007.
-In addition to Buie’s Most Outstanding Player honor, Pemberton and Ray were selected to the All-CAA Championship Team.
For more information on the Hofstra University Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: