Williamsburg, VA – Graduate forward Zeke Upshaw had another outstanding outing for Hofstra as he poured in a game-high 28 points, including a school record-tying seven three-pointers, but a late Pride run fell short in a 79-74 loss to William & Mary at Kaplan Arena on Wednesday evening.
It marked the second time this season that Upshaw has tied the school record for three-pointers in a game as he previously hit seven at UNCW on January 15.
Hofstra has faced the top three teams in the conference standings in its last three games and given each of those squads all they could handle before eventually dropping narrow defeats.
Freshman guard Jamall Robinson would fall one point shy of his career-high as he had 15 points in the contest. His career-high of 16 points came at Siena on December 23.
The loss drops Hofstra’s record to 8-22 overall this season and 4-11 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play. William & Mary improved to 18-10 and 10-5 in league play. The teams split the season series as Hofstra won, 77-60, in Hempstead back on January 22.
Hofstra would trail by 10 at the break as Terry Tarpley had a tip-in at the buzzer to account for the double digit Tribe advantage.
A jumper from graduate guard Dion Nesmith and a three-pointer from Upshaw early in the first stanza would allow Hofstra to rally from a 7-2 deficit, but the Tribe scored the game’s next six points and led 13-7 at the 13:06 mark following a basket from Brandon Britt.
William & Mary would still lead by six, 16-10, before Hofstra tallied four straight points to get within two, 18-16, with 7:35 to play in the opening half after two free throws from Upshaw and a bucket from Robinson.
The Pride would only get as close as two the remainder of the opening half as a jumper from Nesmith closed the gap to 23-21 with 4:48 to play, but the Tribe outscored Hofstra, 12-4 down the stretch to take a 35-25 lead into the locker room.
Upshaw led all scorers with 11 points in the first 20 minutes, marking his 20th straight game in double figures and his 28th time overall this season.
Hofstra would come out of the locker room with some much needed energy as the Pride got a three-pointer from Upshaw just 14 seconds into the half and junior forward Moussa Kone followed shortly thereafter with an offensive rebound and putback to make it 35-30 in favor of the Tribe.
The lead would still be five with William & Mary leading 41-36 before the Tribe would push the advantage back to double figures where it eventually ballooned to 14, 60-46, after a layup from Tim Rusthoven.
Upshaw would close the deficit to nine with a three-pointer at the 9:52 mark to make it 60-49 and Nesmith added a trifecta of his own to bring the Pride to within eight, 60-52, at the 8:27 mark.
A jumper right inside the three-point line from Robinson with 5:46 left in the second half would once again allow Hofstra to close the Tribe lead to five at 62-57, but Britt hit a pair of free throws with 3:54 showing on the clock to push the advantage back to eight (66-58) for William & Mary.
Hofstra still had another run in them and the duo of Nesmith and Upshaw would help the Pride close the score to 66-63 as Upshaw drained another three-pointer with just under three minutes to play in the second stanza.
Hofstra would get deficit down to two, including the last time at 74-72 with 37 seconds but the Tribe would hold on for the victory. Omar Prewitt would end hopes of a Pride comeback as he scored eight straight Tribe points in the final minutes to offset another spectacular game from Upshaw.
Nesmith added 15 points and five assists for Hofstra, while Kone had 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Prewitt and Britt led William & Mary with 16 points, while Tarpley had six points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Hofstra returns to action on Saturday when it hosts James Madison at 7 p.m. in the Pride’s regular season finale. Hofstra will have a special pregame ceremony prior to the game as graduate Zeke Upshaw and seniors Stephen Nwaukoni and Dan Steinberg will make their final appearances at the Mack Sports Complex. For ticket information call (516) HOF-TIXX or visit GoHofstra.com/tix.