Towson, MD – Sophomore forward/center Moussa Kone had a career-high 20 points on 10-13 shooting and senior guard Stevie Mejia tied a career-high with 22 points, but it was not enough as Towson rallied late and earned a 67-64 win over Hofstra on Saturday afternoon at the Towson Center.
Kone’s previous career-high came in the Pride’s last game as he scored 18 points against Delaware on Wednesday. Mejia tied his career-high in scoring, last notched at Drexel on February 18 at Drexel.
Hofstra falls to 7-24 and 4-14 in league play, while Towson improved to 18-13 and 13-5 in conference action. The win was the fourth straight for the Tigers.
The game was the regular season finale for Hofstra, which heads to the conference tournament next week. It marked the season finale for Towson, which is ineligible for postseason play.
Hofstra would hold a narrow 30-28 lead at the break as the Pride broke a seven-all tie with a jumper from senior forward David Imes and used a 15-5 run to earn a 22-12 advantage following a three-pointer from Imes with 11:41 left in the opening half. Mejia added a pair of three-pointers during the run to key the Pride.
Towson would chip away at the deficit and used a 9-2 run to close to within three, 24-21, with 6:46 on the clock after a layup from Jerome Hairston.
A basket from redshirt freshman forward Jordan Allen at the 5:08 mark ended the run for the Tigers and two dunks from Kone in the final three minutes of the half allowed Hofstra to head into the break with the two-point lead. Kone had 10 points and four rebounds in the opening 20 minutes to pace the Pride.
Hofstra would extend its advantage to 35-28 as they scored the first five points of the second stanza before Towson mounted a rally.
The Tigers, helped by two three-pointers from Hairston, put together a 12-2 run and would lead 40-37 as Hofstra was forced to call a timeout with 15:33 left in regulation.
Towson would push its lead to 47-39 as Hofstra went over four minutes without a point until Mejia hit a pair of free throws with 9:27 left in the second half to cut the deficit to 47-41. Hofstra’s last bucket before those free throws came courtesy of a Kone basket at the 13:46 mark.
Mejia would spark the rally back as he hit drained a three-pointer as Hofstra fought back and also hit two free throws with 7:24 to play to close the gap to 47-46.
The Mejia show would continue for Hofstra as he drained back-to-back baskets, and hit a free throw after getting fouled to put Hofstra back in front, 53-50, with 5:01 left in regulation. In all it was a 13-3 run to get the Pride the lead, with Mejia scoring 11 of the points and Kone adding the other two.
Towson battled back and the Tigers regained the lead at 57-55 with two free throws from Rafriel Guthrie. They would then put the game away as Hairston followed with another bucket and a Benimon layup with 1:08 left on the clock pushed the Towson lead to six, 61-55, and they went on to hold on for a three-point win.
Imes chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds for Hofstra, which forced 18 Towson turnovers. Benimon had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Towson, while Marcus Damas and Hairston led the way with 17 points.
Hofstra will next be in action when it heads to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship next week at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, VA. The Pride will face Delaware in the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 9 with tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m.