Jalen Ray was nearly unstoppable Saturday afternoon.
The Hofstra senior guard had a career-high 30 points and tied a program record with eight three-pointers. But with a chance to win or send the game into overtime, Ray was stopped.
Following a missed free throw by Drexel’s Tim Perry Jr. with six seconds left and Hofstra trailing by two points, Ray held the game’s fate in his hands. He drove up the court, but his floater bounced off the rim as time expired and host Hofstra fell to Drexel, 73-71, in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball action at Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
Hofstra interim men’s basketball coach Mike Farrelly said he would have called a timeout if Perry made his second foul shot to make it a three-point game. But once Ray had the ball in space, he wanted to allow him to try to make a play.
"In that situation, loose ball, best player on the floor has the ball in his hands in an unsettled situation, I’m going to let Jalen Ray go every time," Farrelly said. "I think that makes too much sense."
Ray shot 10 of 23 from the field, including 8 of 13 from beyond the arc. He scored 19 points in the second half to nearly will the Pride back from a 14-point halftime deficit.
Ray said he felt comfortable on the floor and just wanted to take advantage of what the defense was allowing him to do. But he was disappointed in himself for missing the game’s final shot.
"They look at me to score, so I needed to make a play," Ray said. "Too bad I didn’t, and I’ll take this [loss] on me. It’s OK, we’re going to bounce back tomorrow."
T.J. Bickerstaff led Drexel with 18 points and Camren Wynter, a 2017 graduate from Holy Trinity and Hempstead native, added 16 points.
After entering the contest on a five-game winning streak, Farrelly believed the team may have started complacent and without the proper energy to win. He wasn’t pleased at the Pride’s effort, which led to a 41-27 halftime deficit.
"Did we just not play hard?" Farrelly said. "Was it we thought we were good, we just roll the ball out there and we win? Who knows what it was but at least we made the adjustment at halftime and know how we need to play tomorrow."
Hofstra falls to 11-7 and 7-4 in the CAA. Drexel improves to 8-6, 3-4. The Pride host Drexel again at 2 p.m. Sunday.