Jalen Ray scored a career-high 29 points and Tareq Coburn matched his personal-best with 28 points as Hofstra defeated Monmouth, 96-88, Tuesday night at the OceanFirst Bank Center. Hofstra used a 27-15 run in the second half to open a 12-point lead and then held off a late rally by the Hawks.
Hofstra, which won for the second consecutive game, upped its record to 3-2 on the season. Monmouth, which was playing its season-opener, slipped to 0-1.
Ray and Coburn were the only Hofstra players in double-figures, but Kevin Schutte had a career-best 10 rebounds to go along with six points off the bench. Isaac Kante had seven points and pulled down nine rebounds. Vukasin Masic, who made his first start of the season, had five assists.
The game was tied early on before Monmouth scored six straight points to take an 11-5 lead with 14:37 left in the opening stanza after back-to-back three-pointers from Deion Hammond.
Hofstra would gradually chip away and three-pointers from Coburn and Ray with just under 11 minutes left in the half turned a five-point deficit into a one-point lead, 21-20, with 10:59 on the clock. The squads would battle back and forth for much of the remainder of the half and the Pride would use a 9-2 run to take a 46-40 advantage with 2:24 left on the clock after consecutive buckets from Caleb Burgess and Schutte. The Pride took a two-point lead into the break as both teams hit three-pointers in the final minute of the first half.
Hofstra pushed its lead to six early in the second stanza as a layup from Ray two minutes into the half made it 55-49. The Pride still led by five a couple of minutes later before Monmouth knotted the score at 59 with a 7-2 run. Tied at 62 with 13:26 to go, the Pride would outscore the Hawks, 27-15, over the next 8:54 to lead 89-77 with 4:32 to go after a pair of Coburn free throws. Five different players scored for the Pride in the run led by Coburn’s nine points.
Monmouth would score seven consecutive points to make it a five-point game, 89-84, with 1:45 on the clock. Coburn stopped the Hawks run with a three-pointer with 1:20 to play and Burgess would sink four free throws in the final minute to secure the victory.
George Papas had 32 points to pace the Hawks while Hammond added 24 points. Melik Martin added 16 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Hofstra is back in action on Saturday when it travels to St. Bonaventure for a 2 p.m. contest. That game will air on ESPN+.
– Tonight marked the 11th all-time meeting between Hofstra and Monmouth. The Hawks lead the series 6-5, but the Pride has won four straight meetings between the schools.
– Ray surpassed his previous career-high of 27 points, set at UCLA last season.
– Coburn scored 28 points for the second time in three games after initially setting his career-best against Iona on Dec. 5.
– Hofstra shot a season-best 55-percent from the floor.
– The Pride was 29-32 (91%) from the free throw line with Coburn going 14-16 from the stripe.
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