Hempstead, N.Y. - Senior guard Mike Moore scored 20 points and junior guard Stevie Mejia added 13, but Hofstra couldn't overcome a collective cold-shooting night in falling, 62-60, to Florida Atlantic on Tuesday at the Mack Sports Complex.
Moore cracked the 20-point plateau for the third time in four games and Mejia finished in double figures for the first time since joining the Pride. Yet Hofstra still fell to 2-2 and lost for the first time in three home games this season. Guard Greg Gantt notched 14 of his 21 points in the second half to lead Florida Atlantic (3-3).
Sophomore guard Shemiye McLendon tied a season high with 12 points in playing 30 minutes off the bench. McLendon also gave the Pride a chance to tie at the buzzer in a back-and-forth contest that featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes. With 2.4 seconds left, the Pride called timeout and inbounded the ball. Nathaniel Lester's three-quarter court heave to Moore was batted into the air, where McLendon gained control near the free-throw line and one-handed a shot that went in. But the officials ruled-and a video replay confirmed-that the shot was after the horn.
FAU broke a 60-all tie with just over two seconds left. After Moore hit a pair of free throws to tie the game, the Owls had the luxury of playing for the last shot. Alex Tucker ran the clock down beyond the three-point line, squaring off against Mejia one-on-one. Tucker then drove the lane and hit a layup against a double-team, giving the Owls the win for the second straight year at the Mack Sports Complex. Hofstra still leads the all-time series, 5-2.
The Pride excelled in two categories that have been problematic in the early season. Hofstra connected on 20-of-23 free throws and built a 20-10 edge in offensive rebounds against the Sun Belt Conference-member Owls. But Hofstra struggled from the field, finishing 18-for-60 from the field.
FAU held the Pride to just 9-of-34 shooting in the second half. Despite the 26.5 field goal percentage, the Pride's defense kept the team in the game. Moore's layup against a zone defense gave Hofstra a 56-55 lead with 1:33 left, negating what was once a five-point Owls edge.
Tucker negated that lead the next trip down, dishing to Gantt on the wing for the eighth FAU three-pointer of the evening.
Overall, Hofstra forced 14 turnovers and limited FAU to just 39.1 percent shooting from the field in taking a 32-27 lead at halftime. Lester set a career high with 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. Senior forward David Imes grabbed nine rebounds, breaking his previous season-high of seven.
After a brief two-day Thanksgiving break, the Pride will be back in action with three games in three days, starting Friday when the Pride take on Rhode Island at 5 p.m. Hofstra will then face Cleveland State and regining America East-champion Boston University on Sunday as part of the TicketCity Legends Classic. The stretch will mark a four-games-in-six-days span and five games in the last nine days.