Brooklyn, NY – Despite a career-high 29 points from Hofstra sophomore guard Taran Buie, LIU Brooklyn rallied from a 16-point second half deficit en route to an 88-84 win over the Pride on Saturday afternoon at the Wellness Center on the campus of LIU Brooklyn.
The loss drops Hofstra’s record to 3-7 this season, while LIU improves to 3-4. The Blackbirds have now won 30 straight games in the Wellness Center.
It marked a individual season-high in scoring for a member of the Pride with Buie scoring 29 points, and Hofstra shot a stellar 64.5% (20-31) from the field after intermission. For the game, Hofstra shot 57.4%, marking a season-high in that category.
An up-and-down first half would see Hofstra trail by just three, 35-32, at the break. The Pride, led by Buie’s 10 points, shot 47.8% (11-23) from the field in the opening 20 minutes. The first half saw a combined 28 free throws shot, with the Pride going 10-16 from the line and LIU making nine of 12.
Neither squad could pull away in the first stanza as LIU Brooklyn held an early 15-8 advantage with 13:34 left before intermission following two free throws from C.J. Garner. That was the largest lead by either team in the first half, and Hofstra quickly responded with six straight points to close the gap to 15-14, with 10:45 to play. Senior guard Stevie Mejia started the run with a jumper and junior forward Stephen Nwaukoni and freshman guard Adam Savion followed with baskets to account for the points during the spurt.
LIU would hold a six-point lead on a pair of occasions later in the half, the last time at 29-23, before Hofstra once again rallied and a free throw line jumper from freshman forward Darren Payen with 2:02 left before the break allowed the Pride to close to within 31-30. LIU led by five points with under a minute left in the half before senior forward David Imes drained a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to account for the final points before halftime.
Hofstra would come out of the break with a renewed energy as the Pride outscored the Blackbirds, 8-2, over the first 2:35 of the second stanza to take a 40-37 lead and force LIU to call a timeout.
Buoyed by a pair of three-pointers from Buie in back-to-back possessions, Hofstra would extend the lead to its largest of the game, 51-40, with 15:05.
The rejuvenated Pride would continue to play well as the second half went on as a dunk from Payen, followed by a three-pointer from Imes and a driving layup from Savion pushed the Pride’s advantage to 62-46 with 11:43 to play in regulation.
LIU would make a furious rally as they closed the deficit to four, 74-70, following a layup from Boyd with four minutes left in the second stanza and caused Hofstra to use one of its timeouts.
An offensive rebound followed by a layup from Nwaukoni with 3:33 showing on the clock would push the lead back to six for the Pride, setting up the contest for an exciting finish.
A three-point play from Boyd would give LIU an 81-80 lead with under a minute to play before Buie gave the Pride the lead right back with a jumper with just 49 seconds to play.
The contest would continue to go back and forth with a three-pointer from Booker Hucks with 40 seconds left put the Blackbirds ahead 84-82.
That three-pointer would prove to be the difference as Hofstra couldn’t recover and dropped the narrow four-point contest.
Buie added three rebounds and three assists, while Mejia chipped in with 13 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals. Nwaukoni had a solid game for the Pride as well with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Boyd led LIU with 20 points, while Jason Brickman had 12 points and nine assists.
Hofstra returns to action on Saturday, December 15 when it hosts Wright State at 2 p.m. in the Mack Sports Complex. For ticket information please call (516) HOF-TIXX.