Isaac Kante had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead Hofstra to a 61-56 victory over William & Mary in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both teams Saturday at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. The Pride led by double-digits in the second half and then had to hold off a rally from the Tribe that saw them cut the lead to three in the final minute.
Hofstra, which was the preseason CAA favorite, moved to 5-3 on the season and 1-0 in league play with their second consecutive victory. The Tribe, which was picked 10th, slipped to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in the CAA with a third consecutive loss.
Kante was joined in double-figure scoring by Tareq Coburn, who had 13 points. Coburn also tied a career best with three blocked shots. Caleb Burgess and Kvonn Cramer each had nine points for the Pride in the win. Burgess also dished out a career high-tying seven assists. Jalen Ray added seven points and grabbed a career-best nine rebounds.
Hofstra held a 34-24 lead at the end of the first half. William & Mary took a 5-2 lead early in the half, but the Pride responded with a 13-0 run to go up, 15-5 with 12:58 to play on Burgess’ driving layup. The Tribe stopped the run and scored four unanswered points to make it a six-point game, 15-9 with 12:07 to play on a foul line jumper from Luke Loewe. The Pride would later go up by 12, 22-10, following a Kante jumper in the paint with 7:17 to go in the opening stanza. Following a three-pointer from Loewe, the Pride got a three-point play from Coburn with 4:46 to go to regain a 12-point edge, 25-13, and William & Mary did not get closer than nine (31-22) the rest of the half.
Hofstra would maintain its double-digit lead during the early stages of the second half, leading 42-30 with 16:04 to play after a fast break layup from David Green. William & Mary would score six unanswered points to make it a six-point game, 42-36, with 13:27 on the clock following a free throw from Connor Kochera. Loewe would put the Tribe within five, 44-39, with a three-pointer with 10:42 to go. After the Pride went up by seven, William & Mary’s Quinn Blair made it a four-point game with a three-pointer from the wing with 8:51 remaining. Hofstra would get two free throws from Ray and a strong layup from Kevin Schutte to go back up by eight with 7:44 to play. The Pride would go back up by 10 with 5:06 to play on a monster dunk from Cramer. After going up by 11, the Pride would see the Tribe score five in a row to cut the lead to six, 55-49, with 2:59 on the clock. William & Mary would get within three, 57-54, with 55.6 seconds remaining on a three-pointer Miguel Ayesa.
Kante would hit a free throw with 30.1 ticks on the clock to give the Pride a little breathing room and following a turnover by the Tribe, Coburn hit one of two from the line to make it a 59-54 contest with 15 seconds to play. Loewe’s layup with eight seconds to go made it a three-point game once again, but Ray closed it out with one free throw with 7.3 seconds remaining. Kante sank one free throw with one-tenth of a second to play to account for the final score.
Loewe matched his career-high with 27 points for the Tribe. Mehkel Harvey pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds. Blair also scored in double-figures for William & Mary with 13 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
The two teams will meet again Sunday with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.
-Hofstra is 24-14 all-time versus William & Mary.
–Hofstra is 3-1 at home in 2020-21 and 37-10 in the Mack Sports Complex since the 2017-18 season.
-Hofstra unveiled banners commemorating its 2020 CAA Championship prior to the game.
-Hofstra is 33-1 over the last seven-plus seasons when holding an opponent below 60 points and has won 29 straight games in that scenario.
-Isaac Kante’s double-double was his third straight and 11th of his career.
-Both teams were playing for the first time since Dec. 22.
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