West Long Branch, NJ – The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team placed four players in double figures, led by 12 points from senior guard Stevie Mejia and sophomore guard Shaquille Stokes, but it wasn’t enough as Monmouth defeated Hofstra, 91-62, in the season opener for both squads on Friday evening at The Multipurpose Activity Center.
Mejia added four assists, three steals and three rebounds for the Pride, which also got 11 points from freshman forward Jimmy Hall and a career-high 10 points from sophomore forward Moussa Kone. Hall had a double-double in his Hofstra debut with 12 rebounds as well.
Hofstra opens the year 0-1, while Monmouth moves to 1-0. Hofstra had won the two previous season openers under Mo Cassara, defeating Farmingdale State in 2010-11 and Long Island last season.
The Pride were unable to get on track in the first half as they shot just 35.5% and had 13 turnovers before intermission.
Hofstra would go into the halftime break trailing, 50-31, as Monmouth shot 51.4% (19-37) from the field in the opening stanza to help the Hawks to the 19-point halftime advantage.
Monmouth led 15-3 early on before Hofstra rallied and eventually closed the gap to 19-17 on a layup from freshman forward Jimmy Hall. The run in all was 14-4 in favor of the Pride as sophomore forward Moussa Kone started the run at the 13:18 mark and added another basket during that run that ended with 9:26 left in the opening half.
The Hawks quickly responded, though, as they pushed the lead to 11 with a 9-0 over the next two minutes to lead 28-17.
Monmouth would take as much as a 20-point lead in the opening half, the last time with 52 seconds left before a free throw from Hall accounted for the final points of the half and sent the Pride into the break trailing 50-31.
Hofstra would gradually close the gap and get the deficit down to 13, 56-43, with 12:50 left in the second half, as sophomore guard Shaquille Stokes drained a three-pointer from right in front of the Hofstra bench. The run in total would be 12-6 over the first 7:10 of the second stanza.
After Monmouth opened the second half scoring, the Pride got a jumper from redshirt freshman forward Jordan Allen and a pair of free throws from freshman guard Dallas Anglin as Hofstra scored 12 of the next 16 points in the contest.
Hofstra would continue to close the deficit and got it down to 12, 64-52, with just over eight minutes left in regulation as Stokes hit a free throw, which came after a layup from the Harlem, New York native.
That would be as close as the Pride would get, though, as Monmouth pulled away late for the victory.
Hofstra returns to action on Sunday when it travels to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on Purdue in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m.