Saturday was a case of too little, too late for the Hofstra men’s basketball team. On Sunday, the Pride stayed out of that situation.
On Saturday, Hofstra nearly dug itself out of a 14-point halftime deficit with a strong second half in a losing effort, which left acting head coach Mike Farrelly critical of the team’s early effort.
Hofstra’s increased energy level Sunday led to a 79-74 victory over Drexel in a Colonial Athletic Association game at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
"We saw the Hofstra Pride we need to be for 20 minutes yesterday," Farrelly said. "And we were that team for 40 minutes today."
Sometimes the answer for how to turn a loss into a win is as simple as effort.
"I feel like we played hard like we are supposed to today," said Isaac Kante, who had 16 points and 16 rebounds. "Yesterday we didn’t do that and we showed what we can be like when we play hard. That’s just the challenge for us moving forward if we want to win a championship. We have to play hard for 40 minutes."
Jalen Ray, who scored a career-high 30 points and hit eight three-pointers in Hofstra’s 73-71 loss to Drexel on Saturday, felt ill during Sunday’s game, Farrelly said. Kante said Ray occasionally threw up on the sideline. Ray still logged 31 minutes, and though he shot 1-for-11, Farrelly credited his defensive effort.
"Look, we’re not going to win a whole lot of games if Jalen Ray is going 1-for-11, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen again the rest of the season," Farrelly said. "But the way everybody else stepped up and made plays and made shots took over a little bit of responsibility."
Tareq Coburn had 17 points and shot 6-for-8 from the field. Kvonn Cramer added 15 points and shot 6-for-8, including 2-for-3 from three-point range.
Caleb Burgess added eight assists and 11 points, including a turnaround jumper near the end of the shot clock to give Hofstra a 78-71 lead with 19 seconds left.
Hofstra (12-7, 8-4 CAA) expanded a 37-35 halftime lead to a nine-point advantage in the first two minutes of the second half and led by as many as 16.
"We came out with that approach of like ‘Hey, let’s get after it right now,’ " Farrelly said. "We did, they had to call a timeout early and we just built it from there."
T.J. Bickerstaff had 18 points and James Butler and Xavier Bell added 16 each for Drexel (8-7, 3-5).