The Hofstra men’s basketball team came back to defeat the University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens 73-65 on Thursday night in Hempstead. With the win, the Pride improved to 11-13 overall, and 3-8 in conference play. Delaware is now 9-15 on the season and drops to 2-9 in conference play.
The win also completed a series sweep of the Blue Hens by the Pride, who has now won the last six series between the teams.
Delaware red-shirt sophomore Darian Bryant opened the scoring with a jumper, followed by a layup by Eric Carter. Bryant finished the night with 11 points, while Carter and senior Devonne Pinkard each scored nine points.
Blue Hens freshman Ryan Daly led the team with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Despite not playing during the last game against Elon University due to an ankle injury, freshman Eli Pemberton returned to the court, contributing 12 points, 10 of which came during the team’s second half comeback.
“He’s not feeling good. He’s hurting. His ankle’s still swollen, but he strapped it up… said, “Let me get out there and play,” and those teammates really respect that,” said Coach Mihalich.
The Blue Hens dominated the first half, leading 35-24 at halftime, but the Pride overcame the 11-point deficit with a strong second half.
“It seemed like two different games. I think that was pretty obvious. We just didn’t play hard the first half. All we talked about at halftime was playing hard… When you play hard and you work hard and you have some toughness to you, then you can be a good team. This game honors toughness and we weren’t tough in the first half, but in the second half we were,” said Coach Mihalich.
The Pride opened scoring after halftime with four three-pointers within the first four minutes.
Pride Sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman had his eighth 20-point game of the year, scoring 22 points overall, 15 coming during the second half. It was also his fifth-consecutive game scoring at least 18 points.
Junior Hunter Sabety had a season-high of 14 points and 15 rebounds – his first career double-double at Hofstra.
“It feels good, but a win feels better for the team. We want to bounce off this,” said Sabety.
Senior Brian Bernardi added 10 points along with senior Deron Powers who scored 11 points.
The Pride only scored 24 points in the first half – its fewest all season – but Hofstra dominated the scoring in the second half, outscoring Delaware 49-30 for the comeback win.
“There’s no words for that. We went to the locker room and we got together and we really played as a team the second half. The first half was too slow, but the second half we got together and pulled it out,” said Wright-Foreman.
The team lost 8 of 9 games in January, all of which were conference games and hopes to change that in February.
“Maybe the moral of the story is that the first half is January and the second half is February. We were so glad to rip that page out of the calendar and throw it away. It’s February. It’s a new month. We gotta be good. If you wanna be good in March, you gotta be good in February,” said Coach Mihalich.
The Pride returns to the court on Saturday night to take on Drexel University Dragons at home at 7 p.m.