Hofstra Head Coach Speedy Claxton during the Molloy Lions at...

Hofstra Head Coach Speedy Claxton during the Molloy Lions at the Hofstra University Pride on November24, 2021. Credit: Lee S. Weissman/Lee S. Weissman

Don’t let the nearly 40-point victory be deceiving. Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton was not pleased with his team’s performance.

Hofstra defeated neighboring Molloy, 87-49, in non-conference game at Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex Wednesday evening. But the game was tied at 18 nearly nine minutes into the contest before the Pride gained control.

"I kept preaching to these guys, ‘respect,’ " Claxton said. "‘Respect, respect, respect,’ because I didn’t want them to play down to the level of their opponent and I think that was the case tonight. Right from the jump, I knew what time it was and that’s not the right way to play the game. You got to respect everybody you play against every time you step on the court."

Hofstra opened a 40-22 halftime lead after a 22-4 run to close the first half because frankly, the Pride are a better team. Hofstra is a Division-I program and Molloy is Division-II. But Molloy (0-4) showed plenty of fight Wednesday.

"We’ll learn from this and hopefully we won’t let that ever happen again," Claxton said. "If we use this as a learning experience, I’m OK with that."

Jalen Ray had a game-high 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including 4 of 9 from beyond the arc, for Hofstra. He scored eight of his 20 points over Hofstra’s 22-4 run.

The Lions scored the game’s first basket and forced seven ties before the Pride pulled away on their 22-4 run. Hofstra also scored the final nine points of the first half.

Hofstra (2-4) opened the season with five road games, which included last-second losses to strong programs such as Houston and Maryland.

"We got to play with the same energy like we did with Houston," Ray said. "You can’t downplay your opponent. [We have to play] with that energy for all 40 minutes."

The Pride had a balanced scoring effort in the victory with 14 points from Zach Cooks and Aaron Estrada. Omar Silverio and Kvonn Cramer each added 12 points and Darlinstone Dubar had 11 points.

This was the first of Hofstra’s four home games over the next five contests. It’s one road game over that span is at Stony Brook as the Pride welcome fans back into the building.

"It’s good to have the fans back in the building, that’s for sure," Claxton said. "Going through last season, it just didn’t feel right playing in front of cardboard cutouts, that wasn’t fun for anybody. So we’re glad to have the fans back in attendance."

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