Evidently, “home” isn’t always sweet home, especially for the Hofstra men’s basketball team on Wednesday.
The Pride’s non-conference game against Manhattan had to be moved to nearby Division II Adelphi because Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex was being used Wednesday for a December graduation ceremony.
Hofstra had one of its worst offensive performances of the season, in part because of Manhattan’s ferocious defense. Still, Hofstra’s talented guard Justin Wright-Foreman found himself in the corner with the ball in the closing seconds of a two-point game.
But a tough double team forced the junior guard to attempt a pass to a teammate that went awry as time expired and “host” Hofstra lost to Manhattan, 63-61, at Adelphi.
“Manhattan has a way of making you play their game,” Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. “They are tough to beat . . . We came up short, and I told our team we didn’t play with desperation the whole game. I thought they were tougher than us.”
Hofstra — which trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half — closed within 55-52 after two free throws by Wright-Foreman (22 points) with 2:01 left, and again at 62-59 after a pair of free throws by Eli Pemberton (11 points) with 30 seconds left.
Improbably, Hofstra (7-4) got within 62-61 on two free throws by Wright-Foreman after Manhattan’s Aaron Walker Jr. (17 points) was whistled for a dead-ball technical foul with 28.7 seconds left and the Pride out of timeouts with the ball.
But Wright-Foreman missed a baseline three-pointer with 14 seconds left. After a free throw by Manhattan, Hofstra’s Desure Buie had his shot blocked by Pauly Paulicap (9 points, 6 blocks) with five seconds left.
Hofstra, which had a four-game win streak snapped, seemed to miss the comfy confines of home and shot 32 percent (20 of 62).
One person definitely liked the game, and where it was held: Manhattan coach Steve Masiello.
“This was awesome,” said Masiello, who is now 5-0 all-time against Hofstra. “It was a different vibe, and credit to both ADs and administrations for getting this done.”
Hofstra now has to regroup quickly with No. 1 Villanova next on the horizon. “This is going to sting,” Mihalich said. “Quite frankly, I didn’t feel like we deserved to win the game. We gotta own it.”