Hempstead, NY – Hofstra sophomore Taran Buie scored a game-high 16 points but Wagner junior Kenny Ortiz tallied a team-high 15 points to lead the Seahawks to a 52-44 non-conference victory over the Pride at the Mack Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
Wagner, which won its second consecutive game, improved to 3-4 on the season while the Pride, who dropped their fourth straight contest, slipped to 3-6 on the year.
In addition to Ortiz, who equaled his season-high by scoring nine of his 15 points in the second half, sophomore Mario Moody posted a season-high 12 points for the Seahawks. Buie, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, was the only Hofstra player in double figures. Senior Matt Grogan equaled his career high with seven points while junior Stephen Nwaukoni equaled his season-high with 11 caroms to go with six points for the Pride.
In a low scoring, slow-starting first half, the two teams split the game’s first four points in 3:50 for the first of five tied scores in the half. But the Seahawks went on a 12-8 spurt, with Moody getting 10 of the dozen, over the next 7:02 to open up their biggest lead of the period at 14-10 after an Ortiz lay-up with 8:33 to play.
But Hofstra went on their own run, outscoring Wagner 11-2 over the next 5:44, with Grogan knocking down two three-pointers in the run, to open the first of two five-point leads in the half at 21-16 after Grogan’s three-pointer with 2:35 to play in the first.
Burnett’s three-pointer 22 seconds later brought the Seahawks back to within a basket. But Mejia hit a free throw and Nwaukoni added a lay-up as the Pride opened up a 24-19 lead at the intermission. Hofstra shot 37 percent (10-27) in the first half and got 14 of its 24 points from the bench led by Grogan’s six while Moody led the Seahawks, who shot 30 percent (8-27) from the field, with 10 points.
The second half was similar to the start of the game, at least for the Pride, as Wagner went on a 12-2 run over the first 6:45 with Moody’s lay-up giving the Seahawks a 31-26 lead with 13:15 to play in the half. But Buie scored on a driving lay-up and converted the free throw on the play to bring the Pride back to within a bucket at 31-29 at the 12:12 mark.
Wagner would score the next five points as Parker responded to Buie’s three-point play with one of his own, and Eric Fanning hit two free throws to give the Seahawks their biggest lead to that point at 36-29 with 10:47 to play. Buie brought the Pride back with another three-point play just 16 seconds later and then added a three-pointer from the outside 15 seconds after that to bring the Pride back to within one at 36-35 with 10:16 to play.
Parker would give Wagner some breathing room with two free throws at the 9:42 mark and Grogan hit one of two free throws 2:17 later to move the score to 38-36 with 7:25 remaining. Parker recorded a dunk with 5:44 to play and Folahan hit a short jumper in the lane almost a minute later to open up a 42-36 lead with 4:49 left. Buie hit his second three-point basket nine seconds later to close to 42-39. But Parker scored again inside before Buie hit two free throws with 2:56 remaining to close to 44-41.
Ortiz for Wagner and Nwaukoni for Hofstra exchanged jumpers to boost the score to 46-43 with 2:04 to play before the Seahawk hit a driving lay-up with 33 seconds left to boost the lead back to five. Mejia hit one of two free throw for the Pride with 26 seconds to play but Ortiz added two more free throws and Josh Thompson added two free throws to close out the scoring. Ortiz scored six of the Seahawks last eight points.
Hofstra returns to action on Saturday, December 8 when they travel to face the Blackbirds of LIU at 2 p.m.