Senior Jalen Ray led all scorers with 22 points and led a spirited second half rally for the Pride, but the Hofstra men’s basketball team dropped its season opener, 70-56, to #24 Rutgers on Sunday afternoon at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Junior Isaac Kante tallied a career and game-best 17 rebounds for the Pride. It marks back-to-back games with career highs in rebounds for Kante, who had 15 in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship Game.
The loss drops the Pride’s record to 0-1 this year, while Rutgers improves to 3-0.
The game featured three tie scores early on with a three-pointer from Ray at the 15-minute mark knotting the score at 10. Ray had six points in the first five minutes for the Pride, but Rutgers put together a 12-1 run to lead 22-11 with 10:51 left in the opening stanza after a basket from Mawot Mag.
The Scarlet Knights pushed the advantage to 16, 32-16, with less than four minutes left in the opening stanza before the Pride clamped down on defense and held Rutgers scoreless for the final 3:52 to close the gap to 11, 32-21, at the break. Ray had all five points during the half-closing run for Hofstra.
Rutgers would open up the second half with a 13-2 run to push the lead to 22, its largest of the game to that point. Hofstra had plenty of fight left in them, though, as the Pride put together a 17-5 run to make it 50-40 after a three-pointer from freshman Kvonn Cramer with 9:39 left in regulation.
The Pride would be unable to get any closer than that the rest of the way as they dropped the season opener to the nationally-ranked Scarlet Knights.
Cramer finished with eight points, four rebounds, and three steals in his Pride debut. Junior Omar Silverio added eight points, while Kante and senior Tareq Coburn chipped in with seven. Jacob Young posted 17 points for Rutgers, which also got 15 from Ron Harper Jr. and 14 from Montez Mathis.
Hofstra returns to action tomorrow when it hosts Fairleigh Dickinson at 7 p.m. The game is closed to the public and there are no tickets available. The game can be seen live on Flo Hoops with the audio only broadcast available on Pride Productions and WRHU (88.7 FM).
– The all-time series between the programs is now tied at three. Today’s game was the first meeting between the schools since December 26, 2000.
– Kvonn Cramer made his first appearance in a Hofstra uniform today. It marked the first game (high school or college) for Cramer since March 5, 2017, for Mt. Pleasant High School – a span of 1,366 days.
– David Green made the start in the season opener for Hofstra. He is the first Pride freshman to start a season opener since Jalen Ray vs. Army West Point on November 10, 2017.
– Today’s output marked the third time in Ray’s career he has scored at least 20 points in a game.
– Ray had three three-pointers in the game giving him 160 for his career. He now ranks 10th all-time in program history, passing Tim Beckett (158 from 1995-99).
– Ray now has 911 points in his career as he approaches becoming the 39th member of the 1,000-Point Club at Hofstra.
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