By Rob Pelaez — STAFF WRITER
The Hofstra men’s basketball team improved to a 2-0 start Monday night at the Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex when they defeated the Owls of Kennesaw State 75-57.
After a dry spell mid-way through the first half, Hofstra ended up pushing the halftime lead to 14 points, with Eli Pemberton, Joel Angus III and Rokas Gustys pouring in eight points each in the first period of play.
Gustys is one of 21 nominees for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the year award in 2017-2018 and rightfully so. He is now top 10 in all-time CAA rebounding and will almost certainly eclipse 1,000 career rebounds at some point in this young season. His final line on the night of 14 points and 13 rebounds, made it his first double-double of the year and 35th in his career.
The Pride spread the wealth throughout most of the roster on Monday night, having three players score in double figures and nine total players scored at least once.
Hofstra played a sloppy game, committing 13 turnovers compared to Kennesaw State’s eight, but shot significantly better from the field than the Owls, outshooting them 50%-29%. A handful of points were scored down low for Hofstra, using the power of Gustys and the swiftness of guards such as Pemberton and Justin Wright-Foreman to slice inside and score.
Pemberton dropped in 12 points to go along with two assists early in the first half, while Wright-Foreman followed up his 25-point season opening performance with 16 points on just 5-13 shooting from the field, but hauled down four rebounds and tacked on three assists. Hunter Sabety also put in his minutes with two ferocious rejections on back-to-back possessions for the Owls, keeping them at bay.
Coach Joe Mihalich was consistently vocal from the sideline whenever the Pride was on defense, a tactic that paid off. They held the Owls to constant dry spells of shooting that lasted upwards of four minutes at certain points in the game. Midway through the second half, Mihalich used the swarm of the full-court press to disrupt the already struggling offense of Kennesaw State.
Hofstra’s next game will take them to Charleston, South Carolina to take on the Dayton Flyers on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the first game of the Gildan Charleston Classic.