Delaware ended Hofstra’s season Friday night 81-76 in the opening round of the CAA Tournament at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, South Carolina.
Hofstra led by eight at the half and as many as 10 points in the contest, but Delaware rallied in the second half and controlled the final minutes of play to secure a victory and keep its season alive for the moment.
Tied at 74 with just over two minutes left, Delaware ratcheted up the intensity and shut Hofstra’s offense down, going on a 7-2 run to close the game out.
Justin Wright-Foreman tallied 23 points and Deron Powers chipped in 18 for the Pride, but the Pride got outrebounded and just couldn’t keep up in the second half.
Though Wright-Foreman ended up with 23 points, he only took two shots in the first eight minutes and took a while to get going.
Hofstra did its part on offense, but defensively the Pride couldn’t stop Ryan Daly or Eric Carter, who combined or 48 points and 21 rebounds. Delaware is typically a poor three-point shooting team, but Hofstra allowed them to shoot 46 percent from long range and 55.6 percent for the game.
“I don’t think it was anything they did on defense,” Deron Powers said. “I would say we lost the game on our defensive end, it had nothing to do with their defense.”
The Pride was outrebounded 36-27 in the contest and 21-11 in the second half. Without the ability to secure rebounds, Delaware got a ton of second chance points that ultimately made the difference in the final score.
Center Rokas Gustys came into this contest ranked fourth in the entire nation in total rebounding, but he ended up with only nine boards after running into foul trouble in the second half. Meanwhile, his backup, Hunter Sabety, couldn’t grab a single rebound in 10 minutes of action.
“As you know we play small,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich. “We didn’t shoot well in the second half but we get no second chance shots. We’re playing with four guards out there so we’ve got to do something to correct that.”
Hofstra is an offensive team and plays at a frantic pace, running up and down the floor and tiring out their foes. However, opposing teams have found success scoring inside the paint against the Pride.
Delaware did a lot of damage inside against Hofstra’s interior defense, scoring 46 points in the paint while Hofstra put up a measly 22.
The Pride end their season with a 15-17 record, but hope is not lost for next season. Hofstra will return three impact players for next year, including leading scorer Justin Wright-Foreman, leading rebounder Rokas Gustys and freshman phenom Eli Pemberton. Hofstra will also be getting back point guard Desure Buie who was out with an injury for nearly the entire season.