By Jordan Sawyer — STAFF WRITER
Family Fun Day played host to thousands of fans across the Island while Hofstra looked to increase itswinning streak to three games as Eli Pemberton and Rokas Gustys teamed up with Justin Wright-Foreman to do everything in their power to extinguish Elon in a 89-76 defeat on Sunday evening at the Mack Sports Complex.
Junior guard Wright-Foreman had a career night with 39 points while becoming the 36th member of the Hofstra Men’s basketball team’s 1,000 point club. He also extended his double-digit scoring streak to 38 games for the fifth longest such stretch in the country while coming up only one point shy of Coach Craig “Speedy” Claxton’s arena record of 40 points set nearly 18 years ago.
“It means a lot, not a lot of payers score 1,000 points, its just an honor, I’m happy I could do it here”, Wright-Foreman said.
Elon set ablaze to begin play with a 9-0 run in the first 2:43 behind a plethora of points in the paint.
“It set an unfortunate tone for us, we fought back but then we made the same mistake in the second half, that spelled doom for us,” said Hofstra head coach Joe Migalich.
Hofstra had open look after open look thanks to the offensive rebounding rock Gustys, but it appeared as though a spaghetti strainer sat above the hoop on their scoring end.
Pemberton deadened the drought with a deep three to pull within two possessions early on.
In the second consecutive game, the bench poured in points behind buckets from the hands of Jalen Ray (eight first-half points) while Stafford Trueheart and Hunter Sabety stepped up on the defensive side.
The lion-hearted Pride earned its first lead of the game with 3:45 to play in the first half after a fast break led to a Gustys lay-in to make it 27-26 Hofstra.
Elon led at the half after a last-second shot sunk for Dmitri Thompson, initially ruled a two-pointer but changed to a three at the end of intermission, giving the Phoenix a 36-33 halftime lead.
Gustys finished the first half with 16 total rebounds (seven offensive, nine defensive) as Wright-Foreman tallied a half-high 12 points.
Unfortunately for Hofstra, the hot-handed Phoenix came out of the locker room doused in gasoline and looking to start a fire.
Elon jumped out to a 51-41 lead with a healthy mix of shots from in and outside the arch coupled with driven defense at the 16:18 mark of the second half.
Hofstra attempted to put out the flame with water but it only grew to an overwhelming 24-point difference with 6:03 left to play.
Wright-Foreman and Pemberton fearlessly scratched and clawed Hofstra’s way back into the game behind a multitude of old-fashioned threes and the modern long ball to pull within 13 points before the final buzzer sounded.
The Phoenix finished shooting 51 percent from the floor while compiling a Mack Arena opponent record with 13-made three pointers.
“That’s a team you have to defend and we defended very poorly, whether it’s the game plan or the execution of the game plan,” Mihalich said. “We didn’t defend well enough and you can’t let a team like that get feeling good.”
Pemberton finished with 19 points alongside four rebounds to accompany Gustys and his whopping 23 rebounds. Gustys came up two points shy of another double-double.
Elon’s entire starting five tallied at least 10 points.
Hofstra will look to rise above .500 in CAA play when they face off against the Towson Tigers on Thursday night in Maryland.