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Moussa Kone, Stephen Nwaukoni and Zeke Upshaw celebrate the win over Charleston
Courtesy: Hofstra Athletic Communications
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MBB: Second Half Rally Lifts Pride Past Charleston

Courtesy: Hofstra Athletic Communications
Release: 01/11/2014

Hempstead, NY - Hofstra saw all five starters score in double-figures, led by graduate forward Zeke Upshaw’s 22, as the Pride rallied from 10 points down in the second half for a 75-71 Colonial Athletic Association win over the College of Charleston Saturday evening at the Mack Sports Complex.

Hofstra (5-11, 1-1 CAA) snapped a three-game losing skid with the win and ended Charleston’s (9-8, 1-1) four-game win streak. The five players scoring in double-figures marked the first time this occurred for the Pride since a 93-64 win over UNCW on February 25, 2012.

Hofstra jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first 1:46 as senior forward Stephen Nwaukoni had a jumper and Upshaw contributed a four-point play as he was fouled on a made three-pointer. But the Cougars responded with a 20-2 run to take a 20-8 lead with 10:06 left in the opening stanza. Nori Johnson scored 11 of Charleston’s 20 points in the run. Charleston would push its advantage to 14, 34-28, with 2:26 to play on a free throw from Terrance O’Donohue.

The Pride would then close the first half on a 10-0 run to trail 38-34 at the break. Upshaw started the run with a pair of free throws and then drilled back-to-back three pointers before freshman forward Jamall Robinson converted two free throws with 49 seconds left to close out the run.

Charleston would open the second half on with an 11-5 run, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to take a 49-39 lead with 16:27 remaining. The Pride responded with a 9-0 run to pull within one, 49-48, with 13:11 to go following a layup from sophomore forward Jordan Allen. Four different players – Upshaw, Robinson, Nwaukoni and Allen scored in the run.

The Pride would tie the score at 58 on a layup from Dion Nesmith with 8:53 to go, capping off a personal 5-0 run for the graduate guard. The tie marked the first of the game. After the Cougars took the lead again, Hofstra would tie the score at 63 on a pair of free throws from Upshaw with just over five minutes to go. After more than a minute of scoreless play, the Cougars grabbed the lead again, 65-63, on Willis Hall’s jumper with 3:45 to go. Nesmith would know the score once again, 65-65, with two free throws with 2:12 remaining. Hofstra would take the lead, 66-65, on a free throw from Nwaukoni with 1:17 to play. The lead was Hofstra’s first since a 6-5 score early in the first half. Junior forward Moussa Kone was fouled on the loose ball following Nwaukoni’s second attempt and hit one-of-two to extend the lead to 67-65. Another foul on the rebound sent Nwaukoni to the line and the senior converted both for a 69-65 Pride advantage.

Anthony Sitt would bring the Cougars within one after a three-pointer from the corner, but Upshaw answered with a driving layup to put Hofstra back up by three, 71-68, with 29 seconds to play. Nwaukoni would hit two more free throws to make it a 73-68 game, but Johnson responded with his seventh three-pointer of the game to pull the Cougars back within two with 14 seconds to go. But Charleston missed its final two shots and Hofstra hit two-of-four free throws to seal the win.

Upshaw added three assists and played all 40 minutes in the win. Nwaukoni finished with 13 points and set a new career-high with 15 rebounds. Allen and Robinson added 12 points each, while Nesmith chipped in with 10 points.

Johnson led all scorers with 25 points and finished one off the Mack Sports Complex record for three-pointers with seven. Sitt added 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Adjehi Baru joined the pair in double-figures with 13 points.

Hofstra returns to action Wednesday at UNCW. Tip time in Wilmington, NC, is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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