The stakes were not as high, but the motivation was evident when Hofstra’s basketball team hosted William & Mary on Sunday. For the Pride, it was the long-awaited rematch from last March, when a three-point shot with eight-tenths of a second left in the second overtime beat Hof stra in a Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinal.
“Definitely, that’s all we played in the back of our mind, that last shot,’’ Hofstra’s Juan’ya Green said after leading the Pride to a 91-63 trouncing. “This was a game everyone circled on the schedule. I’m just glad we got the win. ’’
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Green made sure of that with a dazzling performance. The senior guard scored 18 of his 30 points in his team’s 53-point second half.
Hofstra is 14-6, 6-2 in the CAA. William & Mary is 13-6, 5-3.
Green hit six three-pointers as Hofstra went 15-for-37 from three-point range. He also had eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals with no turnovers.
“He just showed why he’s the best player in this league,’’ Hof stra coach Joe Mihalich said. “And there’s a lot of great players in this league. He’s just terrific.’’
Green, the preseason CAA player of the year, had plenty of help. Rokas Gustys had 18 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double. Ameen Tanksley scored 17 points and Denton Koon added 13. Malik Nichols had eight rebounds before being sidelined in the second half with a leg injury. He will be evaluated Monday.
With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, Green picked up his second personal foul. William & Mary had a 31-22 lead at the time. Said Mihalich, “I don’t think anyone in this room, starting with me, would think that the game would end up the way it ended up . . . It was certainly gratifying for us.’’
Tanksley’s three-pointer tied the score at 46 before an 11-0 run gave the Pride a 57-48 lead with 11:08 left. The lead grew to 18 at 76-58 on Green’s final three-pointer. Hofstra, which led by as many as 29, outscored William & Mary 43-15 in the final 13:50.
Green was coming off a 23-point, 14-assist game in a triple-overtime victory over Northeastern Thursday night in Boston. He played a program-record 55 minutes, and the assist figure was a career high.
Hofstra and William & Mary got an extra day’s rest when the game was postponed by Saturday’s snowstorm. Mihalich said his players would not have been tired anyway.
“We have a plan. We can’t tell you what it is. It’s a secret,’’ he said. “We have a plan for getting these guys on the floor, keeping them on the floor.’’