Trailing by 10 points with under a minute remaining, Hofstra looked like it was bound to suffer another disappointing loss to Drexel University, a conference foe.
The Pride finished the game on a 12-0 run, capped by a game-winning three-pointer by Justin Wright-Foreman, to beat the Dragons 79-77 at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex on Saturday night.
“It’s almost hard to believe that you could do something like that, and we did it,” said Pride head coach Joe Mihalich. “They pulled a rabbit out of their hat. It was because of their hard work and their belief that they could do it and I’m just proud of this team.”
The Pride’s backcourt trio of Deron Powers, Eli Pemberton and Wright-Foreman combined for 56 points and 11 assists.
Hunter Sabety scored nine points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in his second straight start in place of Rokas Gustys, who has missed the past two games with a lower body injury.
The score was tied at nine through five minutes of play when three pointers from Powers and Wright-Foreman helped push the lead to 19-11 in favor of Hofstra with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Dragons responded by scoring nine unanswered points, seven of which were scored by 5-foot-10-inch point guard Kurk Lee, to regain the lead with under 10 minutes remaining in the first frame.
Lee finished with 19 points for the game, but scored just two points after halftime.
A layup by Pemberton and a three-pointer by Wright-Foreman put Hofstra up by five temporarily, only to have Drexel outscore the Pride 13-5 in the final six minutes of the first half to give the visitors a 37-34 lead through 20 minutes of play.
After going scoreless in the first half, Drexel’s Kari Jonsson hit back-to-back three pointers in the first minute of the second half to expand Drexel’s lead to 43-34.
A layup and three-pointer done by Wright-Foreman sandwiched around a Brian Bernardi layup brought Hofstra back within three with 13 minutes left in the game.
Rodney Williams put the Dragons back up by five with a layup off of an offensive rebound for two of his game-high 26 points. Drexel’s John Moran then knocked down two straight three pointers to elevate his team to a 13-point lead, the largest advantage of the game for either team, with nine minutes to go.
After the teams traded free throws on consecutive possessions, Jamall Robinson hit a three, his only field goal of the game, and Wright-Foreman made a layup to bring Hofstra back within four, 65-61.
Sabety was then called for two fouls on the same possession, putting him over the limit and forcing him to watch the final five minutes of the game from the sidelines.
Williams scored eight points in the following five minutes to give Drexel a 77-67 lead with 1:15 to play.
Pemberton hit a three pointer and then Bernardi matched him with a three of his own after Drexel’s Austin Williams missed a free throw to bring Hofstra within four. Bernardi finished with 10 points.
Lee missed both of his free throws on the ensuing possession after being intentionally fouled by Hofstra.
Powers then took it to the rack and earned two free throws, both of which he made to bring Hofstra back within two points with 25 seconds left.
The Pride then implemented a full court press on Drexel in an attempt to steal the inbounds pass and Lee was called for an offensive foul after pushing off on Pemberton in an attempt to create separation.
That call fouled Lee out of the game and gave the ball back to Hofstra with a chance to win the game.
The ball went to Wright-Foreman in the corner, and Moran fell to the court in an attempt to draw an offensive foul on Wright-Foreman, but ended up leaving him wide open for a three pointer after no call was made. The rest is history.
“There were a lot of possibilities that could happen [on that final possession] but I was just thinking positive and just trying to help my team win,” Wright-Foreman said.
Hofstra has now won two consecutive games, moving to 12-13 overall and 4-8 in Colonial Athletic Association play.
Drexel lost its fourth straight game to drop to 8-17 on the season and 2-10 in conference games.
The Pride is playing on Thursday, Feb. 9, traveling to Towson University.