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Hofstra bounces back in big way, wins by 41 points

Hofstra raced to a 35-point halftime lead before finishing off a thorough 102-61 rout at the Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex in Hempstead on Thursday night. The win was the Pride's first game since their 16-game run ended with a 14-point loss at Northeastern on Saturday. Credit: Newsday / Casey Musarra

Hofstra admittedly stewed all week after having the longest winning streak in the nation snapped on Saturday.

The Pride had their run halted at 16 games with a 14-point loss at Northeastern, but Joe Mihalich’s team took it out on Elon from start to finish on Thursday night.

Hofstra raced to a 35-point halftime lead before finishing off a thorough 102-61 rout at the Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex in Hempstead.

“It might sound crazy, but we approached today as a little bit of a must-win game. Coming off that loss, it seemed like a long, long time and a long week,” Mihalich said. “A little bit of a must-win game. We wanted to make a little statement to show that we don’t like to lose. I’m really proud that our guys, we came out of the gates with a lot of fire.

“Maybe that loss reminded us how much we hate to lose.”

Hofstra’s 20-4 overall mark represents the program’s best record through 24 games at the NCAA Division I level (since 1966-67). The Pride are looking to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Jay Wright led Hofstra to back-to-back berths in 2000-01.

Junior guard and Queens product Tareq Coburn scored all 21 of his points in the first half on seven three-pointers — one shy of the school record for a game.

Hofstra, which improved to 10-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association, played a nearly flawless game with 25 assists and one turnover.

“We all stuck together after Northeastern,” Coburn said. “Sometimes you might lose a game, but I feel like that loss has brought us even closer now. We’re even more focused on winning.”

Leading scorer Justin Wright-Foreman, named Wednesday as one of 10 finalists for the Jerry West Award — given to the best shooting guard in the country — took only eight shots in 30 minutes and scored 16 points.

Wright-Foreman has scored in double figures in 77 consecutive games, breaking a tie with Navy’s David Robinson (1985-87) for the CAA record.

The senior guard also came in ranked third in the nation in scoring (25.5 points per game) and likely was the reason scouts for the Cavaliers, Mavericks, Hornets and Pacers were in attendance.

Desure Buie (15 points) and Coburn combined for three quick three-pointers and the game’s first nine points. Wright-Foreman netted only five points during the Pride’s 25-2 start through seven minutes.

Coburn, a transfer from St. Bonaventure, entered averaging 8.7 points per game, but he hit three straight threes to extend the lead to 34-7 en route to a 57-22 cushion at halftime.

Jacquil Taylor contributed 15 points and nine rebounds and Eli Pemberton added nine points and nine assists for the Pride, who will take a 13-0 home record into Saturday’s game against William and Mary.

“We were just ready to get back on the court and play,” Pemberton said. “A game like Northeastern was a tough one . . . But we came back and said, ‘Let’s not feel this again.’ ”

New York Sports