Moore led Hofstra is scoring for the 19th time in 23 games
this season as Hofstra fell to 7-16 and 1-10 in CAA play. Northeastern’s Quincy
Ford tallied 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Jonathan Lee (17 points)
and Reggie Spencer (13 points) helped the Huskies improve to 11-10 and 7-4. Hofstra lost both game in
the season series after dropping a 64-62 decision at home on Jan. 11.
David Imes scored 10 points to finish in double figures for the ninth time this season. The junior forward added eight rebounds and tied a career high with four steals. His steal total matched a mark first set against Iona on Dec. 29.
“We continue to be in games and have opportunities,” Hofstra head coach Mo Cassara said. “We have to continue to find ways to get the ball in the basket. Our defensive effort is where it needs to be, we just need to make some shots down the stretch.”
Senior forward Nathaniel Lester was held to six points on 2-of-7 shooting, ending his double-figure scoring streak at 14 games. That stretch was the longest in the CAA this season. Lester needs 10 more points to become the 30th player to score 1,000 career points for Hofstra.
Junior guard Stevie Mejia tried to give Hofstra a jolt off the bench, scoring six points and crashing the boards for six rebounds in the losing effort.
The Pride—which was playing its fifth game in 11 days—
struggled against Northeastern’s 2-3 zone defense, shooting 29.6 percent from
the field. To compensate, the Pride generated 16 turnovers and turned it over
themselves just 10 times, building an 18-11 points-off-turnover differential.
Northeastern, though, started the second half on a 10-2 run to put Hofstra in a hole for which it could not recover. Lee buried a third-chance three-pointer near the top of the key on the first possession of the half and Hofstra missed its first eight field goal attempts coming out of the break in going down 40-29 after Ford’s open three-pointer when the Pride failed to rotate defensive coverage to him on the far right wing.
Hofstra employed a full-court press to get in the game and Moore made back-to-back layups to cut the deficit to 40-33 five minutes into the last half.
“We had some good looks and we could have made it a one-possession game,” Cassara said. “We’re a frustrated group because we’ve lost a lot of close games, but we’re also finding ways to be competitive.”
But Lee hit a jumper and Alwayne Bigby made a low-right block layup for a 48-37 lead with just under nine minutes left. Ford’s three-pointer made it 52-40 near the six-minute mark, giving Northeastern all the breathing room it would need.
The Pride got a late boost when Imes had a hard block off the glass, facilitating a Moore layup on the other end to make it a 54-47 Northeastern lead with 51.6 left and a three-possession game. Yet Lee was fouled on the in-bounds and hit both free throws to secure the win.
One game after opening a nine-point lead against first-place George Mason University, the Pride again started strong with a game-opening 7-2 run. But the Huskies found room to operate in the post as Ford and Spencer accounted for 19 Northeastern points to send the Huskies into halftime with a 30-27 lead over the Pride.
Northeastern out-scored Hofstra in the paint, 12-6, through the opening 20 minutes. Mejia gave Hofstra a lift off the bench, adding seven points and two assists before the break.
Cassara employed the same starting lineup for the 12th
consecutive game, sending out McMillan, Moore, Lester, Imes and sophomore
forward Stephen Nwaukoni out for the opening tap.
The trip to 102-year-old Matthews Arena marked a homecoming of sorts for Cassara, who served as an assistant coach at Boston College from 2006-10. Northeastern head coach Bill Coen was also an assistant at Boston College from 1997-01.
Hofstra will return home to face Towson on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. contest at the Mack Sports Complex. That will mark the first of two straight home games with the Pride hosting Georgia State next Saturday, Feb. 4, against Georgia State.