It was over as soon as it started. Rokas Gustys backed down Tyrell Sturdivant and muscled his way in to shoot a layup for the first basket of the game, and the Hofstra men’s basketball team never lost the lead – a 96-58 final over Stony Brook Tuesday night at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
“It always means a little bit more to play a cross town rival,” said head coach Joe Mihalich.
Six Pride players finished in double figures in points, led by sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman, who had a career-high 22 in 22 minutes.
“This is no surprise to us the way he scored tonight,” Mihalich said. “If he continues like this and [he is] feeling more comfortable, there will be more games like this.”
Mihalich praised his team posting a season-high 96 points. The key to the victory was on the defensive end; but he’s not exactly sure how they were so efficient.
“I can’t explain what we did,” Mihalich said. “We were just on the fly making adjustments.”
The Pride’s defensive success started with its rebounding – outnumbering the Seawolves 59-30, allowing just 10 second chance points for Stony Brook.
Ty Greer and Gustys combined for 30 rebounds as the starting front court, giving Gustys his fourth double-double of the year with 11 points and 18 rebounds.
Greer logged his first double-double in a Hofstra uniform, including a season-best 12 rebound performance to go along with 14 points.
After going back-and-forth with Stony Brook on offense to start the second half, Hofstra generated two four-minute scoring droughts on the Seawolves, increasing its lead to as large as 43.
Shooting 48 percent from downtown, the Pride’s back court provided plenty of cushion. Bouncing back from a tough loss Sunday against Kentucky, Eli Pemberton, Brian Bernardi and Wright-Foreman knocked down seven three-pointers combined, following a 3-11 night among those three players just two days before.
“We challenged a lot of these guys to learn from that game Sunday. I think everyone did,” Mihalich said. “We learned really how to prepare for somebody and really how to play the game the right way. Let’s prepare for every game like it’s Kentucky.”
Pemberton, who leads the Pride in points per game, totaled 18 points and four boards. Bernardi had 11 points and four assists.
“The whole team played well [and] played hard. We were concentrated and I think that Kentucky game really helped us and got us prepared for the next games,” Gustys said.
In addition, Deron Powers continued his streak of double-digit points to nine consecutive games, tallying 13 points on 6-11 shooting with seven assists – taking on the role as the player who Coach Mihalich trusts with the ball in his hands at any time of the game.
“Deron Powers has established himself as our guy,” Mihalich said.
Hofstra goes on a nine day break before their next contest, which is against Siena College Dec. 22 in Hempstead.