Philadelphia, PA – Senior guard Stevie Mejia tied a career-high 22 points, but Hofstra could get no closer than five in the second half as they dropped a 63-54 decision to Drexel on Monday evening at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Hofstra dropped to 6-21 and 3-11 in league play with its third straight loss. Drexel improved to 11-15 and evened its conference mark at 7-7. The Dragons swept the season series after winning 55-52 in Hempstead back on January 23.
Junior forward Stephen Nwaukoni finished with three points and 12 rebounds for Hofstra. Sophomore guard Taran Buie broke out of his recent slump and chipped in with 13 points for the Pride.
Drexel was led by Damion Lee with 17 points and Franz Massenat with 16.
A low-scoring first half would see Hofstra trail 33-23 at the break despite a stellar first 20 minutes from Mejia. The Massachusetts native led all scorers in the opening stanza with 14 points as he kept the Pride within striking distance.
Neither team was able to crack double digits until 7:48 remained in the first half as Drexel used an 8-0 scoring run to turn an 8-7 deficit after two free throws from senior forward David Imes into a 15-8 Dragon lead with 5:56 left in the first half.
Hofstra got back to within four, 19-15, after Mejia drained another jumper but Drexel continued to keep the Pride at bay as they pushed the lead to nine on a pair of occasions as the half winded down. After a free throw from Buie made the score 31-23 with six seconds left, Massenat went the distance at the half expired to give the Dragons a 10-point advantage, 33-23, heading into the break.
Drexel pushed its lead to 12 just ten seconds into the second half as two free throws from Derrick Thomas made the score 35-23.
Hofstra gradually chipped away and kept the game within striking distance as they trailed 36-28 after a Mejia bucket with 18:44 to play.
The lead for Drexel would stay around ten points, with Drexel taking its largest lead at 45-32 at 14:15 after a Massenat three-pointer before Hofstra outscored Drexel, 12-7 over the next 5:50 and cut the deficit to 52-44 following a dunk from redshirt freshman forward Jordan Allen.
A three-pointer from Buie with 7:17 left in regulation brought Hofstra to within 52-47, setting up the game for an exciting finish.
Hofstra would get no closer than five, though, as Damion Lee answered Buie’s three with a clutch three-pointer from the corner in front of the Drexel bench and McCoy followed with a layup to push the advantage to ten, 57-47.
Hofstra returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts George Mason at 7 p.m. For ticket information call (516) HOF-TIXX.