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Hofstra loses to Elon despite Justin Wright-Foreman’s 39 points

Hofstra's Justin Wright-Foreman works the ball in game

Hofstra's Justin Wright-Foreman works the ball in game where Hofstra defeated James Madison 87 to 81 in OT at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Jan. 5, 2018. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

How can a player score a career-high 39 points and not have it be a game he’ll always remember? Justin Wright-Foreman knows Hofstra didn’t bring enough in an 89-76 loss to Elon at the Mack Sports Complex on Sunday.

In a game that was destined to be won by the team with the best three-point shooters, Elon (11-6, 3-1 CAA) had it all over Hofstra (9-7, 2-2) and, ultimately, Wright-Foreman. Teammate Rokas Gustys had 23 rebounds, two shy of his career high.

“You got mixed emotions about them,’’ Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. “I’m happy somebody scores as many points as [Wright-Foreman] scores and it’s amazing how many rebounds [Gustys] gets. I’m sure they would say this: You want to do it [in a] win. I’m proud of these guys . . . We got to figure some other things out here, too.’’

Elon started the game with a 9-0 run, but Hofstra recovered and trailed 36-33 at halftime. An 18-10 spurt to start the second half increased Elon’s lead to 54-43 with 15:48 left, and Hofstra could get no closer than seven points.

Eli Pemberton had 19 points for Hofstra but was 2-for-7 from three-point range. By contrast, Elon had five players score in double figures. Tyler Sebring, who shot 3-for-5 from three-point range, had 22 points. Brian Dawkins and Dmitri Thompson had 18 apiece and went a combined 4-for-8 from outside the arc.

Elon shot 13-for-27 from three-point range to Hofstra’s 9-for-30. Wright-Foreman, a junior point guard, was 14-for-34 from the floor and 5-for-16 from three-point range. He made all six of his free throws in a game in which Hofstra didn’t attempt a foul shot until the second half.

Wright-Foreman scored 12 points in the first half, which put him over 1,000 for his career. “It means a lot,’’ he said of the milestone. “Not a lot of players score a thousand points. It’s just an honor. I’m happy I could do it here.’’

But he was unsure why his long-range shooting was off. “It could be a lot of things,’’ he said. “Just more myself not using my legs, just not following through and shooting it the right way. But it happened, you have bad shooting nights. I have to change something. Just gotta keep shooting.’’

Wright-Foreman’s point total was one short of the arena record of 40 set by Speedy Claxton, who went on to the NBA and now is a Hofstra assistant.

Mihalich wasn’t particularly pleased with the Pride’s effort. “You got to be ready to go every night,’’ he said. “I’m very frustrated. We talk about those things all the time. Maybe it’s not getting through. Maybe we have to learn the hard way. Every game’s a battle. It’s not what you say, it’s what’s being heard, and we gotta get these guys to listen better.’’

New York Sports