Richmond, VA – Graduate guard/forward Zeke Upshaw had a career-best 37 points for Hofstra, but Richmond rallied late and eventually defeated the Pride, 74-63, in overtime on Tuesday evening at the Robins Center.
The loss drops the Pride’s record to 1-3 this season, while Richmond improves to 3-1. It was the third all-time meeting between the schools, with the Spiders winning all three contests (all have been played in Richmond).
The 37 points by Upshaw made him the first Pride player with 30 or more points since Mike Moore had 30 vs. UNCW on February 25, 2012. It was the most for a Hofstra player since Charles Jenkins had 40 against Binghamton on December 8, 2010.
Hofstra would score the first four points of the contest as freshman guard Jamall Robinson hit a pair of free throws 1:24 into the contest and then added a layup 22 seconds later.
The Spiders would battle back to knot the score at six on a jumper from Cedric Lindsay at the 15:50 mark and the two squads would go on a three-plus minute scoring drought following that hoop until senior forward/center Stephen Nwaukoni broke the tie with 12:42 left before halftime with his first basket of the game. That score would start an 8-0 scoring run for the Pride that culminated with a bucket from graduate guard/forward Zeke Upshaw with 9:15 to play, making the score 14-6 in favor of Hofstra.
The teams would continue to exchange baskets with Hofstra holding a narrow 23-22 lead with 3:10 remaining before Upshaw continued his torrid first half with a pair of free throws that started a half-closing 10-2 run that gave the visitors a 33-24 lead at the break. Upshaw led all scorers with 15 first half points on 5-8 shooting from the field.
With nearly four minutes expired in the second stanza, Hofstra would lead 37-33 after a Richmond basket before using a 7-0 run to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 44-33 after two free throws from graduate guard Dion Nesmith. It was really the Pride’s defense that shined during the run as Hofstra forced the Spiders into nine consecutive missed field goal attempts.
Richmond would slowly chip away at the double-digit Pride lead as they cut it down to four points, 44-40 with 10:11 left in regulation on a layup from Derrick Williams.
Hofstra once against had an answer, though, as sophomore forward Jordan Allen hit two free throws and Upshaw drained another three-pointer around a Richmond basket to allow Hofstra to hold a 49-42 lead heading into the under-eight media timeout with 7:37 to play.
With Hofstra ahead 51-42, the Spiders mounted a rally that would eventually tie the score at 51 courtesy of basket from Trey Davis with 5:16 left in the second half.
With 42:4 seconds left in the second half, Williams hit an old-fashioned three-point play to even the score at 58. That would be the final points of regulation as each team had chances down the stretch but neither could take advantage and the game headed to overtime.
Richmond would take its first lead of the entire contest with 3:44 to play in the first overtime as Kendall Anthony sank a three-pointer to push the lead to 62-59. Hofstra would be unable to close the gap as overtime counted down and the Spiders would go on to capture the hard-fought victory.
Upshaw was the only player in double figures for Hofstra, which got eight points and 10 rebounds from Nwaukoni and a career-high 11 rebounds from Allen.
Lindsay led Richmond with 26 points, while Anthony added 18.
Hofstra returns to action this weekend when it concludes play in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff with a pair of games at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. The Pride will take on Hartford on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. before facing either Belmont or Holy Cross on Sunday at 6 or 8 p.m.