By Felipe Fontes — ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
After riding a four-game win streak, the Hofstra men’s basketball team fell to Manhattan College in a heavily disputed contest, losing 63-61 at Adelphi University.
The contest had the Jaspers taking early command, allowing Hofstra to take its only lead early on with a 14-12 score.
The Jaspers shot 48 percent in the first half, compared to the Pride’s mere 35 percent.
The early shooting woes for Hofstra were overshadowed by the great performance of Justin Wright-Foreman. Wright-Foreman scored 15 points in 18 minutes of play, leaving the teammate with the next highest point total with three points at the half.
Despite consistently trailing throughout much of the first half, the Pride came out firing in the start of the second, going on a 9-0 run to take a 36-33 lead.
The second half saw a more dispersed scoring effort from the Pride. Eli Pemberton led the way with 10, Rokas Gustys put in eight, and Justin Wright-Foreman added another seven to his first half efforts.
However, the story of the second half was similar to the first, where the Jaspers were able to maintain themselves in front despite a few Hofstra runs.
“I don’t think we played with the desperation we needed to play with all game long. The last five minutes was obvious that we did, but I thought they played harder, I thought they were tougher than us, and those were keys for us coming into the game,” said Hofstra men’s basketball head coach Joe Mihalich.
The final five minutes mentioned by Mihalich were quite eventful for the teams. Specifically, in the last 46 seconds, the Pride were able to score seven unanswered to erase an eight-point deficit and get within one, trailing just 62-61 with 29 seconds to play.
The near comeback came off of some late game missed free throws by the Jaspers, with the Pride’s Jalen Ray hitting a three, and Pemberton and Wright-Foreman each making a pair of free throws.
Nonetheless, Hofstra’s grip on the comeback slipped away at the end, when a Pride missed three, followed by a Jaspers foul shot and a Hofstra turnover caused the game to end.
“Our team was a combination of guys that, for defensive purposes, we had to have in there. They’re not quite used to playing together like they had to so we didn’t execute as well as we should have,” Mihalich said.
The loss was a tough one for the Pride in a game where they weren’t truly able to play the game in the style they are accustomed to.
“It’s unique the way they play. Manhattan has a way of making you play their game. No matter who it is, to beat them, you have to play their game, and we came up short,” Mihalich said.
Despite the loss, the game against Manhattan was the Pride’s first game in eight days, allowing the game to be served as a possible revitalizer to get back into game flow before taking on the best team in the country just two nights later.
Hofstra will face off against top ranked Villanova on Friday night, Dec. 22 at the Barclays Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.