Hempstead, N.Y.- Senior guard Mike Moore scored a game-high 23 points and added 10 rebounds and fellow senior Nathaniel Lester tallied 13 points to lead Hofstra to a 63-59 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) on Saturday afternoon at the Mack Sports Complex.
Junior guard Stevie Mejia recorded nine points and senior guard Dwan McMillan poured in eight points off the bench to help the Pride improve to 2-1. Travis Nichols paced the Terriers with 12 points as St. Francis fell to 0-3.
Sophomore guard Shemiye McLendon scored four of Hofstra's last six points to help the Pride pull away. Hofstra now leads the all-time series, 24-13. Head coach Mo Cassara's team is 2-0 at home and Hofstra is 2-1 to start a season for the first time since 2008-09.
Moore became the first Hofstra player to notch a double-double this season, accomplishing the feat for the fourth time since joining the Pride. With Hofstra nursing a two-point lead, Moore grabbed an offensive rebound and buried a far-angle shot for a 61-57 lead with 2:38 left.
The Pride defense played its best in clutch situations, limiting the Terriers to just two points in the final six minutes. Overall, Hofstra also prevented St. Francis from finding a groove beyond the arc, holding the Terriers to just 7-of-25 shooting on three pointers.
McMillan provided a spark off the bench in setting a season-high in points. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native helped Hofstra erase a three-point deficit by connecting on three free throws 30 seconds apart to tie the score at 57 with 5:32 left.
From there, the Pride pulled ahead thanks to aggressive defense and timely shooting. McMillan forced a held ball near the St. Francis free-throw line, causing a turnover with the possession arrow in Hofstra's favor.
The Pride forced 13 turnovers overall and McLendon capitalized on one miscue to drain a jumper with 4:21 left, giving the home team a 59-57 lead it would not relinquish. St. Francis missed five of its last six shots from the field and Dre Calloway missed a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left and Hofstra up, 61-59.
With one final chance to tie the game, McLendon stole the ball from Calloway, drawing a foul with three seconds left. McLendon hit both free throws to ice the game.
Lester, who is the reigning Colonial Athletic Association's Player of the Week, finished just one rebound short of his fifth career double-double. Lester and Moore combined for 36 points, marking more than half of Hofstra's offense. The duo also logged 37 and 35 minutes, respectively, one game after both were limited by foul trouble against Oregon State.
Hofstra will play its final home game of the month on Tuesday when the Pride will host Florida Atlantic in a non-conference matchup. Game time at the Mack Sports Complex is scheduled for 7 p.m.