Hofstra men’s basketball snapped the College of William & Mary’s undefeated home record on Thursday night in Williamsburg with a 96-82 victory on the backs of rising sophomore Justin Wright-Foreman, junior Rokas Gustys and a 15-0 run to close the contest.
Wright-Foreman lit up the scoreboard with a career high 35 points, out-dueling William & Mary’s Daniel Dixon who countered with 32 points. Wright-Foreman has now had 20 straight games in double figures and 10 straight games with 20 points or more as he guns for CAA Player of the Year honors.
“He’s been hot,” head coach Joe Mihalich laughed. “He makes tough shots, he makes big shots, he’s a terrific player, but we got a lot from a lot of different people today. Everybody will talk about his 35 points, but it was a collective effort.”
It was a collective effort indeed as the Pride received strong contributions from its stars.
Senior Deron Powers, a Williamsburg native, had a solid overall game in his homecoming with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists. Freshman Elijah Pemberton contributed 16 points, while Gustys cleaned up the boards, snagging 15.
With his 15 rebounds, Gustys now has 910 on his career and becomes only the 14th player in CAA history to have over 900 rebounds.
The Tribe has had a huge home court advantage all year and was 12-0 at the Kaplan Arena, but Hofstra seized the momentum late in the game and rode it to victory.
Though the score tells a story of an easy win for Hofstra, it was an even battle for the first 36 minutes of the contest. The teams were tied up at 41 at the half and neither team was able to pull away until Hofstra caught fire in the final minutes.
Down 81-82 with four minutes to play, Hofstra rattled off a string of impressive defensive stands and capitalized on offense to stun the Tribe and break its home winning streak.
Hofstra was strong from 3-point range in this contest, hitting 14 of 31, good for over 45 percent. Seven of those three pointers came from Wright-Foreman, whose outside shot will give William & Mary coaches nightmares in his upcoming seasons.
The Pride will receive the eighth seed in the CAA conference tournament, and Mihalich thinks his young players can lift the team up to make a run at a conference championship.
“This is when it counts,” Mihalich said. “It’s all about who’s hot now and it’s a playoff atmosphere now. We have one more game and then we go down to Charleston [the site of this year’s tournament] to see what we can do.”
Regardless of how they perform in the tournament, this season has clearly been one of growth for the young players on this team.
The Pride has a lot of young players playing big minutes in the rotation and those minutes have immensely impacted their growth. This is Wright-Foreman’s first year as a rotation player and he has emerged as perhaps the best scorer in the conference. With two more years to hone his craft, there’s no telling how many more 30-point games are in store.