Pride Roars Back In Second Half, 65-56
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Hofstra rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to snap an 11-game road losing streak with a 65-56 men's basketball victory over UNCW early Saturday in a Colonial Athletic Association afternoon tilt at Trask Coliseum.
The Pride earned a split of the regular season series and stand 6-18 overall and 3-8 in the CAA. The Seahawks lost for the fourth time in five outings to fall to 9-15 and 4-8.
Three players scored in double figures for the Pride, who avenged a 57-51 loss to UNCW back on Jan. 26 in Hempstead. Senior playmaker Stevie Mejia led all scorers with 18 points, junior forward Stephen Nwaukoni added 12 points and 10 boards, and sophomore guard Taran Buie had 10 points.
Senior forward Keith Rendleman posted his 14th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Seahawks. Sophomore forward Cedrick Williams chipped in 13 points and five boards .
"You have to give credit to Hofstra," said third-year UNCW head coach Buzz Peterson. "They hadn't won a road this this year, but they've been very close. We just didn't make shots. It's hard to win when you give up that many offensive rebounds."
UNCW cruised out to a 31-21 advantage at halftime, but Hofstra controlled the first 10 minutes of the second half to turn the tables. The Pride closed out the game by outscoring UNCW, 18-7, over the last eight minutes to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Hofstra bounced back from 30.8 percent shooting in the first period with a 47.1 clip in the second half, mostly behind Buie, Jordan Allen and David Imes. Buie scored seven of his 10 points in the final 20 minutes, while Allen and Imes, who failed to scratch in the first half, combined for all 14 of their points in the decisive second stanza.
UNCW, meanwhile, struggled offensively after intermission. The Seahawks wound up shooting 37 percent, marking their 13th game under 40 percent this season.
After Williams opened the second half with a jumper on the right elbow, the Pride strung together 10 straight points as part of a 14-4 run to open the period. Nwaukoni powered up over Shane Reybold with 14:02 left to tie the game at 35-all.
Reserve guard Matt Grogan gave the Pride their first lead since the opening basket of the game when he nailed a triple in front of the Hofstra bench at 11:46 for a 40-39 edge.
UNCW regained the advantage, 46-45, on a Williams free throw at 8:33, but reserve forward Moussa Kone scored on a slam and added a tip-in with 7:16 left to help the Pride inch out to a 49-46 lead at 7:16. Imes then capped a 9-2 rally with a baseline jumper to give Hofstra a 54-48 lead at 4:58. Buie added a trey and Imes connected in the paint as the lead ballooned to 59-48 with just under two minutes left and the Pride held on down the stretch.
With the game knotted at 9-all in the first half, UNCW scored seven straight points and Craig Ponder made back-to-back buckets to give the Seahawks a 16-9 lead at 11:08. The Seahawks led the Pride by seven points on five occasions in the opening period.
The Seahawks were still on top, 24-19, early when a Cedrick Williams dunk keyed a 7-2 spurt over the last five minutes heading into the break. Tanner Milson drained a long triple on the right wing and Rendleman dropped in a free throw with five seconds left to give the Seahawks a 10-point cushion at intermission.
The Seahawks return to the floor on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tip-off against William & Mary at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, Va. The Pride wraps up a two-game road trip on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. test at Georgia State.
GAME NOTES: The game was aired as part of the CAA Television Network's package...UNCW still leads the 27-game series by a 14-13 margin...The Seahawks are 7-5 against the Pride at Trask Coliseum...Allen grabbed seven steals for the Pride...UNCW went 3-of-14 behind the arc...The Pride had 17 turnovers...Hofstra scored 32 of its 65 points in the paint...The Pride ruled the boards, 42-34...UNCW's starting guards combined for 9-of-31 from the floor....The Seahawks went 13-of-21 at the free throw line...Hofstra snared 19 offensive rebounds...Mejia made 3-of-4 triple attempts...Dixon and Ponder each committed five turnovers...Each team had nine steals.