Aaron Estrada scored 28 points and added six rebounds and seven assists as Hofstra closed out the regular season with a hard-fought 89-84 Colonial Athletic Association win over Charleston Monday night at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. The Pride held off a late second half rally to enter the CAA Championship on two-game winning streak.
Hofstra improved to 21-10 overall and finished with a 13-5 record in the CAA. Charleston dropped to 16-14 overall and 8-10 in league play.
Omar Silverio also had a strong game for the Pride, scoring 19 points with five rebounds and a pair of steals. Jarrod Simmons also scored in double-figures for the Pride, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.
Hofstra held a 42-31 lead at halftime. The teams traded baskets to start the game before Hofstra went on a 5-0 run to take a 9-4 lead with 15:54 to play. Caleb Burgess had a three-pointer and Darlinstone Dubar added a layup following a steal. The Pride would maintain a lead for the remainder of the half, though Charleston would get as close as one on multiple occasions, the last at 21-20 with 7:41 to go. Hofstra would take a seven-point lead, 27-20, following a 6-0 run capped by a step-back jumper from Ray with 6:23 on the clock.
The Pride would use another 6-0 run with three-pointers from Silverio and Zach Cooks to take a 35-24 lead with 3:55 to go. The Cougars cut the Hofstra lead to nine, 40-31, with under 30 seconds to play, but Abayomi Iyiola scored off an offensive rebound with a second left to send the Pride into the break with a double-digit advantage.
Charleston would cut its deficit to six, 48-42, with 15:22 to go in the second half before Silverio answered with a three-pointer to push the lead back to nine. Silverio would push the Hofstra lead to 12, 57-45, with 13:33 to play. The Cougars got within seven, 65-58, with 8:30 to play on Reyne Smith’s three-pointer before Estrada answered back with a three of his own to put Hofstra back up by 10 with 7:44 remaining.
The Cougars would keep it close and made it a five-point game with 5:06 to go on a pair of free throws from Brenden Tucker. Charleston would get as close as three, 80-77, with 1:13 to play but Estrada doubled the lead with a three from the corner, and the Pride would hit all six of their free throws in the final 22 seconds to preserve the win.
Charleston received 19 points each from Reyne Smith and Ben Burnham. Smith had a team-high six assists, while Burnham pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Hofstra will next be in action on Sunday night, March 6, in the quarterfinals of the CAA Championship presented by Jersey Mikes. The third-seeded Pride will take on sixth-seeded Charleston at 8:30 p.m.
-Hofstra is 9-7 all-time versus Charleston and won both regular season meetings
-Burgess finished with seven points and six assists for Hofstra, which had 18 assists on the night.
-The Pride notched 15 steals and scored 32 points off Charleston’s 28 turnovers.
-Iyiola tied Estrada for team-high honors with six rebounds.
-Estrada’s 28 points were his most since scoring 32 at Drexel on Feb. 10.
-Hofstra finished the season 12-2 at home.
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