Hofstra 72, CCSU 67

Four players scored in double figures as the Hofstra Pride defeated the CCSU Blue Devils 72-67 at the Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead, NY. Senior forward Zeke Upshaw led the Pride with 22 points.

Stephen Nwaukoni achieved the only double-double in the game, scoring 12 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Moussa Kone and Jamall Robinson added 13 points each to help balance the scoring effort. Kone also added 8 rebounds and energized the crowd with a put-back dunk off a missed Upshaw 3-point attempt with just under five minutes remaining.

Poor free throw shooting nearly derailed Hofstra’s bid for their third win on the season. Although the Pride got to the line 46 times on the afternoon compared to CCSU’s 18 attempts, they knocked down just 9 more shots than their opponent and ended the game with a dismal 47.8% success rate from the charity stripe.

Sophomore forward Jordan Allen, who has filled in at point guard for the injured Dion Nesmith the last three games, went just 1-10 from the free throw line. Since filling in for Nesmith, Allen has made just 3 of 19 free throw attempts. After the game, head coach Joe Mihalich was asked if Allen’s new role was having an effect on his performance.

“Point Guards are born, not bred,” said Mihalich. “Jordan is doing his best he can, but he’s not a point guard. He’s trying to play the point, rebound, play defense and do everything, but it’s hard. It’s a whole different world when you’re bringing the ball up and there’s nine guys looking at you.”

Hofstra won the rebounding battle 39-31, but they held a more dominant advantage on the offensive glass where they out-rebounded the Blue Devils 17-6. This dominance on the offensive side of the boards led to the Pride scoring 27 of their points off second-chance opportunities. While Hofstra’s poor free throw shooting held them back, their 27-6 scoring advantage on 2nd chances was key to sealing the victory.

The Blue Devils’ offense was a two man show headlined by juniors Faronte Drakeford and Kyle Vinales. Drakeford led all scorers with a season-high 23 points, with 16 of those coming in the second half. Vinales contributed 21 points of his own while dishing out 5 assists. Although Drakeford and Vinales accumulated just one foul between them in the first half, they played much of the second half in foul trouble. Both players fouled out in the final 90 seconds of the game, leaving CCSU with limited scoring options down the stretch as they tried to keep pace with the Pride.

Hofstra next travels to the Times Union Center in Albany to take on the Siena Saints on Monday, December 23rd at 7 p.m.

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