Hempstead, NY - Michael Alvarado scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as Manhattan rallied for a 66-59 victory over Hofstra Saturday evening at the Mack Sports Complex. Graduate guard Zeke Upshaw led the Pride with 21 points.
Manhattan scored eight of the game's final nine points to pull away from the Pride. Hofstra falls to 2-5 with the loss, while Manhattan improves to 4-2 with the win.
The teams battled through a close first half that featured one tie score and five lead changes. Neither team led by more than five points in the opening 20 minutes either. The Jaspers opened up a 4-0 lead to start the game as Alvarado scored back-to-back baskets in the first 1:45. The Pride came back and scored five unanswered, two on a layup from senior forward Stephen Nwaukoni and three on a deep jumper from , to take a 5-4 lead one minute later. Manhattan scored five straight points over the next two minutes to take a 9-5 lead and the Jaspers would hold four-point leads three more occasions, the last being a 23-19 advantage with 4:24 left. The pride would then close the half on an 11-4 run to take a 30-27 lead at the break. Upshaw started the run with a jumper from the elbow and freshman forward Jamall Robinson followed with a three-pointer to give Hofstra a 24-23 lead with 3:06 to play. The Pride went up two, 25-23, following a free throw from red-shirt sophomore Jordan Allen. After George Beamon tied the score with a pair of free throws at the 1:34 mark, freshman guard Chris Jenkins made a three-pointer and Upshaw added a jumper with 46 seconds to go to make it a 30-25 game. Alavarado’s two free throws cut the Pride lead to three with 13 seconds left and the Pride missed a shot as time expired.
The second half saw the Jasper’s shoot 54percent from the field and use a 16-8 run over an eight-minute span to turn a 36-36 tie into a 52-44 lead with 7:18 to play. That was the largest lead for Manhattan. The Pride would use a 10-2 spurt to tie the game at 54 with 4:13 to play. Upshaw contributed two three-pointers in the run, while sophomore forward Darren Payen and Nwaukoni each scored two points. But with the score tied at 58 with 2:46 to go, the Jaspers pulled away with an 8-1 run to seal the victory. Alvarado snapped the tie with a pair of free throws and after a Nwaukoni free throw cut the deficit in half, he buried a jumper to put his team up by three. A dunk by Rhamel Brown and two more free throws from Alvarado closed out the scoring.
Payen finished with 10 points, while Nwaukoni added a game-high seven rebounds to go with nine points. Robinson had a season-best seven assists for the Pride, who were playing without starting point guard Dion Nesmith (injury).
Ashton Pankey was the only other Manhattan player in double-figures with 10 points. Alvarado had a team-high six assists to accompany his 23 points. Hofstra was able to keep Beamon to just six points, more than 17 points below his season average.
Manhattan was able to wear down the short-staffed Pride as the Jaspers had 10 players log at least eight minutes in the game and only Alvarado saw 30 minutes of action. Hofstra saw four players play 30 or more minutes, led by Upshaw’s 37, and used just two subs in the game.
Hofstra returns to action Wednesday night, December 4, when it hosts Sacred Heart at 7 p.m. For ticket information call (516) HOF-TIXX or visit GoHofstra.com/tix.