Aaron Estrada of the Hofstra Pride goes to the hoop for...

Aaron Estrada of the Hofstra Pride goes to the hoop for a basket late in the second half against Vado Morse of the James Madison Dukes at the Mack Sports Complex on Saturday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The names are synonymous with Hofstra men’s basketball.

Speedy Claxton. Charles Jenkins. Justin Wright-Foreman.

All were inside the David S. Mack Sports and Entertainment Complex on Saturday: Claxton prowling the sideline and Jenkins and Foreman-Wright as interested observers.

Whether Aaron Estrada will join the trio in the program’s lore is a question that has yet to be answered. If that comes to pass, it will be performances like the one he authored in the Pride’s 85-78 overtime win over James Madison that will be remembered.

Estrada led Hofstra with a career-high 35 points to help the Pride (14-9, 6-4) end its two-game losing streak.

"He took us home," Claxton said. "This kid had 35 points. Unbelievable performance by him."

So much so that the crowd of 3,793 serenaded the junior with MVP chants during overtime.

"That’s pretty impressive," Claxton said as he half-turned toward Estrada, sitting to his right in the interview room. "I didn’t get any MVP [chants]."

With Hofstra trailing 72-71, Darlinstone Dubar drilled a three-pointer from the right side with 3:50 left in overtime. On the ensuing possession, Estrada snaked down the lane and converted a layup. After the Pride forced a shot-clock violation, Estrada sank a three-pointer to make it 79-72.

The Dukes cut Hofstra’s lead to three with a jumper by Vado Morse (21 points) and a layup by Charles Falden (25 points). Estrada’s layup with 49 seconds left made it 81-76. Dukes forward Justin Amadi responded with a layup of his own, but Estrada’s dagger jumper with 25 seconds left essentially clinched the victory.

"Honestly, I feel like it is all confidence," Estrada said. "All the coaches work with me every day and [tell] me to keep shooting."

Grad transfer Zach Cooks, who was honored before the game for scoring 2,000 points in his college career with NJIT and the Pride, had 16 points. Dubar added 12.

"We need a secondary scorer," Claxton said of Cooks, who made two free throws to give the Pride the final margin of victory. "Him having a good game like today, it was well-needed . . . It was good to have him back."

Two days after Claxton criticized his team for its performance against Towson, the

Pride shot 48.6% (34-for-70) from the field and had 22 assists. They shot only 11-for-36 from three-point range but scored 38 points in the paint. Hostra forced 17 turnovers that turned into 18 points.

"This says a lot about our team," Claxton said. "We could have easily, easily, easily folded in overtime because we should have won this game in regulation. But we didn’t. That’s why I’m super- proud of my guys."


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