Hackensack, NJ – Sidney Sanders Jr. scored 20 of his game-high 31 points in the opening 20 minutes as Fairleigh Dickinson evened the season series with Hofstra at one with an 86-67 victory over the Pride on Sunday afternoon at Stratis Arena.
Hofstra fell to 4-10 with the loss, while FDU improved to 4-10 with the victory.
Hofstra would head into the halftime break facing a 14-point deficit as the Knights closed the opening stanza on a 26-11 run to take the double digit lead into the break. The 49 first half points allowed were a season-high for Hofstra opponent this season as Louisville tallied 46 against the Pride back on November 12.
It was a showcase of two elite scorers in the first half as Sanders Jr. led all scorers with 20 points, while Hofstra’s Upshaw led the Pride with 14 first half points. For Upshaw it continued his recent strong scoring as he had 31 points in the Pride’s game at Tulane on January 2.
A back and forth first half would see Hofstra lead 24-23 following a quick 5-0 scoring run by the Pride that included three points from Upshaw. FDU would answer, though, and the Knights retook the lead with a 9-2 run that made the score 32-26 in favor of the home squad.
Fairleigh Dickinson would continue to hold the advantage through the remainder of the opening half and took its first double digit lead of the game after two free throws from Sanders Jr. made it 41-31 with just under three minutes left. Two free throws from sophomore guard/forward Jordan Allen nearing the two-minute mark would close the gap to eight, 41-33, but FDU scored the final eight points of the half to take the 49-35 lead into the locker room.
The Knights would use an 11-3 run to open the second half to push their lead to 22 points (60-38) following a three-pointer less than three minutes into the second 20 minutes.
The Pride did close the gap to 71-56 after FDU opened up as much as a 25-point lead as they used a 10-0 scoring run that closed with a free throw from Robinson with 9:01 showing on the second half clock. Sanders would drain a clutch jumper from near the top of the key to end the Hofstra run and put the Knights back up 17.
Hofstra would be unable to close the deficit to less than 14 the rest of the way as the Knights managed to earn the win in the second of two match-ups between the schools this season. The Pride won the first game, 80-58, back on November 10.
Today marked the 100th game in the career of senior forward/center Stephen Nwaukoni and he contributed four points and four rebounds.
Junior forward/center Moussa Kone had a game-high eight rebounds for Hofstra, while also chipping in with eight points.
Mathias Seilund had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Knights, while Mustafaa Jones had 12 points and three assists.
Hofstra’s next game will see the Pride open Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play as they will travel to Delaware on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. contest.