Hofstra was able to defeat UNC Wilmington 78-70, with help from a last minute 9-0, in the play-in game of the CAA Tournament. With the win the Pride will take on top-seeded Delaware at noon tomorrow to kick off Day 2 of the tournament.
Hofstra lead throughout most of the game, but watched the Seahawks go on a late 11-3 run to take their first lead of the second half at 60-59. But Hofstra fought back and was able to get to the free throw line four times in the last two minutes to seal the win. After the win, Hofstra’s coach Joe Mihalich said, “In the end we had that refuse-to-lose mentality.”
The game’s key play came with 1:58 left with Hofstra down 70-69, freshman Jamall Robinson pulled down a tough offensive rebound and took the ball up strong to score the bucket and drew a foul. He converted the free throw, giving the Pride the last lead they would need to pull off the win. Robinson finished with 10 points while playing in all 40 minutes.
Senior graduate student, Zeke Upshaw, was the force to be reckoned with for the Pride. Upshaw scored a team-high 23 points while also playing in all 40 minutes. He was 4-7 from behind the arc and 7-15 overall. Besides Upshaw, Hofstra had an extremely balanced scoring attack with four other players finishing in double-figures. Another graduate senior, Dion Nesmith put up 15 points in a full 40 minutes of work like Robinson and Upshaw. But perhaps the most impressive performance for the Pride was that of senior Stephen Nwaukoni who finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds (5 offensive) in just 24 minutes of work. Moussa Kone also nearly put up a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds.
The Pride out-rebounded the Seahawks 44-29, including 14 big offensive rebounds. For UNC-Wilmington, sophomore Craig Ponder scored a career-high 24 points to lead all scorers and junior Freddie Jackson put up 16 points on 7-13 shooting.
Tomorrow will be the busiest day at the Baltimore Arena. So here is the schedule for Day 2 of the CAA Tournament in Baltimore:
noon #1 Delaware vs. #8 Hofstra
2:30 #4 Drexel vs. #5 Northeastern
6:00 #2 Towson vs. #7 James Madison
8:30 #3 William & Mary vs. #6 College of Charleston