MBB: Hofstra Drops Season Opener Versus Monmouth
Courtesy: Hofstra Athletic Communications
Hempstead, NY - Graduate student Zeke Upshaw scored a career-high 22 points and freshman Chris Jenkins added 17 points, but Monmouth used a pair of second half runs to post an 88-84 win over Hofstra in the season opener for both schools at the Mack Sports Complex Friday night.
The loss spoiled the debut of Hofstra Head Coach Joe Mihalich, who made his Pride debut after 15 years at Niagara University.
The first half started slowly, but Hofstra (0-1) took a 6-5 lead on a layup from freshman Jamall Robinson with 16:51 to play. That started a 9-4 run that gave the Pride a 13-9 lead with 14:03 to go on a pair of free throws from Upshaw, who came to Hofstra after graduating from Illinois State this past May. The Pride would maintain the lead for the rest of the half, going up by as many as 12, 31-19, on a Darren Payen dunk with 5:53 to play. The Mountain Hawks (1-0) cut the deficit to five, 41-36, on a Deon Jones three-pointer with 2:09 to play. But Jenkins hit a jumper and Payen a layup to close the half and give the Pride a 45-36 lead at the break.
Hofstra would open the second half on a 4-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at 13, 49-36, with 18:15 on the clock. With Hofstra leading 62-51 following a three-point play from senior Stephen Nwaukoni with 10:21 to go, the Mountain Hawks began a 13-1 run to take a 64-63 lead on an Andrew Nicholas free throw with 7:24 to play. The two teams then traded the lead eight times with Monmouth using an 8-0 run to pull away. After Hofstra had taken a 75-72 lead, Nicholas tied the score with a three-pointer with 3:30 to play. Justin Robinson put the Mountain Hawks up for good with a layup with 3:04 remaining. Robinson would cap the run with a three-pointer from the corner with 2:08 left.
Junior Moussa Kone cut the Monmouth lead to three on a pair of free throws with 1:55 to go, but the Pride could not get closer the rest of the way.
Kone had a double-double for the Pride with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while graduate student Dion Nesmith added 10 points and five assists against his former team. Nesmith played at Monmouth for two years before graduating in May and enrolling at Hofstra. Nwaukoni fell two points shy of a double-double with eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Jones led Monmouth and tied Upshaw for game-high honors with 22 points, leading five Mountain Hawks with 10 or more points. Josh James added 19 points, Nicholas chipped in with 13, Robinson had 11 and Max DiLeo posted 10. Jones also chipped in with nine rebounds.
The contest was a tale of two halves in shooting with Hofstra shooting 49 percent in the first half and 36 percent in the second, while Monmouth shot 36 percent in the first and 49 in the second half.
Hofstra will look for its first win of the 2013-14 campaign Sunday afternoon when it hosts Fairleigh Dickinson at 4 p.m.