Boston, MA – Graduate guard Dion Nesmith had 20 points, six rebounds and three assists to lead Hofstra, but it wasn’t enough as Northeastern pulled away late for an 81-73 victory over the Pride on Wednesday evening at Matthews Arena.
The loss drops Hofstra’s record to 7-17 overall and 3-6 in conference play. It is the Pride’s fifth straight defeat. Northeastern improves to 8-16 and 5-5 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play.
Hofstra got on the board first, as freshman guard Jamall Robinson drained a three-pointer to give the Pride the early advantage. Northeastern would use an 11-4 run to take its first lead of the contest at 11-7 with 14:51 left before intermission.
The Huskies would get a three-point play from David Walker to push their early lead to 16-10 about seven minutes into the game before Hofstra made its first run of the contest.
Nesmith would score the first three points of a 12-3 Hofstra run that would culminate with a three-pointer from Robison at the 6:21 mark of the opening stanza and give the Pride a 22-19 advantage. Robinson was huge during the spurt as he had seven of the 12 points.
Northeastern immediately answered and used an 11-0 run to retake a 30-22 lead with 2:42 left before halftime. Nesmith, who scored nine first half points, would end the run with 2:22 on the clock and made it a 30-25 game courtesy of his second three-pointer of the first 20 minutes.
Northeastern would eventually take a six-point lead into halftime as T.J. Williams nailed a three-pointer as the half was winding down to account for the final points of the first half.
Hofstra would slowly chip away at the halftime deficit as the Pride would close the gap to two on a pair of occasions early in the second stanza, including at 40-38 after a layup from Nesmith.
The Huskies would push the lead back to four points before a three-point play from graduate forward Zeke Upshaw followed by a tip-in from junior forward Moussa Kone would give Hofstra its first of the second stanza at 42-41 with 14:41 left in regulation.
The Pride would still hold a 46-45 lead after a trifecta from Upshaw before the Huskies used a quick 5-0 run to earn a 50-46 lead heading into the under-12 media timeout with 11:47 showing on the clock.
It would go back and forth down the stretch as both squads had multiple opportunities to pull away. A free throw from senior center Stephen Nwaukoni at the 5:44 mark would knot the score at 62, setting up the exciting finish.
The Huskies would put the game away as two free throws from Scott Eatherton made it 64-62 and Northeastern would never relinquish the lead as they would go on and capture the eight-point victory.
Upshaw added 16 points, four rebound and four assists for the Pride, while Robinson chipped in with 13 points and three rebounds. Nwaukoni pulled down a team-best 10 rebounds for Hofstra.
Eatherton had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Northeastern, which got a team-high 15 points from Walker and Reggie Spencer.
Hofstra returns to action on Saturday when it hosts UNCW. For ticket information call (516) HOF-TIXX or visit GoHofstra.com/tix.