MBB: Mejia Stars As Hofstra Defeats UNCW
Courtesy: Hofstra Athletic Communications
Wilmington, NC – Senior guard Stevie Mejia had 18 points to lead all scorers as the Hofstra Men’s Basketball team ended a pair of losing skids in defeating UNCW, 65-56, on Saturday afternoon at Trask Coliseum.
The win ended a seven-game losing skid overall for the Pride and also put to bed a 16-game road losing streak dating back to last season.
Hofstra improved to 6-18 overall and 3-8 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play with the win. UNCW falls to 9-15 and 3-8 with the loss.
The Pride got several outstanding performances in the contest as redshirt freshman forward Jordan Allen was stellar on defense with an astounding seven steals to go along with six points.
Senior forward David Imes added eight points and nine rebounds, while junior forward Stephen Nwaukoni had 12 points and 10 rebounds (third double-double of the season) for the Pride.
The loss also avenged a loss to the Seahawks earlier this season as UNCW defeated the Pride, 57-51, back on January 26 in Hempstead.
Hofstra went into the halftime break trailing by ten as 13 first half turnovers by the Pride led to 13 UNCW points. The Seahawks took the double digit advantage despite a solid first half from Mejia, who led all scorers in the opening stanza with 10 points.
Back-to-back buckets from Mejia and sophomore guard Taran Buie at the 7:33 and 7:11 mark of the first half allowed the Pride to closed to within three, 20-17, but UNCW answered with a sustained run of its own. Cedrick Williams hit a jumper with 6:45 showing on the clock and that basket started an 11-4 half-closing run for the Seahawks, including a three-pointer from Tanner Milson with 58 seconds left in the half.
UNCW would push its lead to 12, 33-21, with just under a minute elapsed in the second half before Hofstra began to mount its comeback.
The Pride would put together a 14-2 scoring run over five-minute period to knot the score at 35 following a jumper from Nwaukoni. During the run Hofstra actually scored 10 straight points at one point, with Nwaukoni leading the way during the spurt with six points.
The tie score marked the first time the game was tied since it was nine-all with 14:39 left in the first half.
Hofstra would complete the rally and take a 40-39 lead at the 11:48 mark on a three-pointer from senior guard Matt Grogan.
Sophomore forward Moussa Kone would key a run that would allow the Pride to take its largest lead of the game to that point, 49-46, with less than eight minutes left in regulation. Kone had the last two buckets during a quick 4-0 run that gave Hofstra the three-point advantage heading into the under-eight minute media timeout.
Right after the timeout Hofstra would extend its lead to six points as Mejia calmly drained a three-pointer from in front of the Hofstra bench. The Pride would then hold a 52-46 lead with 7:54 left at the conclusion of Hofstra’s seven straight points.
A three-pointer from Buie would be the clincher for Hofstra as he drained one from the top of the key with 2:24 showing on the clock to push the lead to 57-48. Imes would then add a jumper in the paint with 2:02 left as Hofstra took a double-digit lead, 59-48.
Buie added 10 points for the Pride, who outrebounded UNCW 41-33 in the contest.
UNCW was led by 13 points each from Keith Rendleman and Cedrick Williams. Rendleman also added 10 rebounds.
Hofstra returns to action on Wednesday, February 13 when it continues its southern swing of the conference with a 7 p.m. game at Georgia State.