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Hofstra rolls to 45-point win over Delaware in conference opener

Hofstra guard Justin Wright-Foreman drives the ball past

Hofstra guard Justin Wright-Foreman drives the ball past Delaware guard Ithiel Horton in the first half of a CAA men's basketball game at Mack Sports Complex on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Hofstra put the rest of the Colonial Athletic Association on notice Friday night with a 91-46 win over Delaware in its conference opener at the Mack Sports Complex.

“You want to raise your level of play for conference,” Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. “We literally played for first place and we took care of business. I’m proud of these guys. They were all focused and locked in, and they were all hungry and wanted to show that we’re a good team.”

Justin Wright-Foreman, who led Hofstra (11-3 overall) with 29 points and shot 5-for-6 on three-pointers, said the Pride “definitely” made a statement with its eighth straight victory.

“Watching Justin play is like magic,” said Eli Pemberton, who had 17 points. “Especially games like today. I feed off him and my team collectively. Watching him play gets everybody going.”

The Pride built an early double-digit advantage behind the combination of three-pointers and swarming defense. Desure Buie hit Hofstra’s third shot from beyond the arc in four attempts for an 18-5 lead.

Wright-Foreman hit a three-pointer with 7:36 to go in the opening half, widening the lead to 19 points. His layup with 28 seconds left capped a 12-0 run and pushed the Pride’s lead to 46-15.

Eric Carter, who entered the night leading Delaware in scoring (19.5 points per game) and rebounding (10.2), was plagued by foul trouble and was held to seven points and eight rebounds while primarily being guarded by Jacquil Taylor.

“Jacquil does a lot of things that don’t show up in the scorebook,” Mihalich said. “He did a great job with Carter. Carter’s the key to their team. We were proud of how our guys did with him.”

Three-point shooting propelled Hofstra in the first 20 minutes. The Pride shot 6-for-10 from beyond the arc in that span and held Delaware (8-6, 0-1) to 2-for-13 shooting from long range. Hofstra shot 53.4 percent for the game.

Now Pemberton and the rest of the Pride have their sights set on Sunday’s conference game against Drexel.

“We just have to get ready for the next game,” he said. “We can’t think about this anymore. We’re happy, but we have to focus on Drexel.”

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