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Eli Pemberton is Hofstra's secret weapon

Hofstra Pride guard Eli Pemberton battles Charleston Cougars

Hofstra Pride guard Eli Pemberton battles Charleston Cougars forward Jarrell Brantley during the second half on Saturday. Photo Credit: Lee S. Weissman

While opponents are busy trying to stop Hofstra’s unstoppable scorer, Eli Pemberton is there to make them wish they had made other plans.

The junior guard is more than a complement to his heralded senior teammate, Justin Wright-Foreman. He is becoming a name in his own right.

“He should be Player of the Week,” coach Joe Mihalich said, referring to the regular honor conferred by the CAA.

Pemberton led the Pride with 24 and 26 points in two tough wins over good teams, UNC Wilmington and defending conference champion Charleston on Saturday.

His contributions also include the little things such as keeping an offensive rebound alive, extending a sequence and sinking the three-pointer that essentially put Saturday’s game away — which he did to make it 80-68 with 2:25 left against Charleston.

Opponents come in knowing that Wright-Foreman is among the top scorers in the country. They learn that Pemberton is a big reason why Hofstra is such a good team, with a 17-3 record and 14 consecutive wins.

“As a secondary playmaker, it’s getting everybody involved, just keeping the same game plan,’’ Pemberton said. “I don’t think anybody in the country can guard Justin. It doesn’t matter what they do, overplay or anything. I feed off him regardless.”

Wright-Foreman deflected the compliment, saying, “I could say the same thing about him. I don’t think anybody in the country can guard him. He just brings exceptional energy to the court. He’s a workhorse. It’s a credit to him. I love being next to him. Love it.”

Mihalich added about Pemberton: “I shouldn’t even talk about it, but he could end up as a top 10 scorer in Hofstra history. He’s on his way.”

Pemberton has 1,162 career points, in 26th place in school history, with a season-and-a-half to go, having contentedly remained under the radar.

“Tonight he went ahead and got 26,” Mihalich said, then looked at the unassuming guard and said, “which you’re welcome to do any night you want.”

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