For Hofstra, games against Manhattan in recent years have been like trips to its own little corner of metropolitan-area hell. The Jaspers’ defense, as orchestrated by eighth-year coach Steve Masiello, has been particularly unkind to the Pride.
On Monday night, however, Hofstra was not consumed by the Jaspers’ fiery full-court press.
The Pride was able to thrive on equal doses of high-energy play from Tareq Coburn, Eli Pemberton and Desure Buie, a crisp passing game and the tough shot-making of Justin Wright-Foreman and Jalen Ray in an 80-50 victory over Manhattan at Draddy Gymnasium in the Bronx.
The Pride ended a five-game skid against Manhattan — they hadn’t beaten the Jaspers since the 2010-11 season — and extended their winning streak to five.
“No one gets a team to play harder than Steve Masiello. I thought we could win tonight. I didn’t expect this,” Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. “It feels good. You have those rivals where it happens — the other team has your number. They’ve had our number.”
Not on this night. Hofstra (8-3) was dominant throughout, trailing the Jaspers (2-7) for only 16 seconds at 2-1.
Coburn, a junior transfer from St. Bonaventure who hails from Queens, had 22 points and 10 rebounds and became the first Pride player besides Wright-Foreman to lead the team in scoring this season. It followed his 19-point effort against Rider, and his emergence could be a difference-maker.
“I feel like I am getting more comfortable playing with the starters,” said Coburn, who struggled to get playing time behind the Bonnies’ vaunted backcourt of Jalen Adams and Matt Mobley before he transferred. “Hofstra is changing me, developing me. It’s my first year actually playing college basketball.”
Said Mihalich, “He brings energy. He plays hard. Some people work hard and some people play hard and some people do both. We have a team full of guys who do both.”
Buie added 18 points, Wright-Foreman 14 and Ray 13 for Hofstra, which shot 56 percent.
The Pride overcame the withering Manhattan press through the physical play of Pemberton and Buie. Five Pride players scored in a 13-3 run for a 13-5 lead. Hofstra got four points from Coburn in an 8-0 run for its biggest lead before the break, 26-10, and led 35-24 at halftime.
Hofstra scored 21 of the first 25 points in the second half to pull away. Coburn’s three with 2:02 left made it 80-31.
“We’re playing better this year because we play harder,” Buie said. “Last year we had a great team, but we lost [top rebounder Rokas Gustys]. This year we have to play hard every day. We have no choice.”