Jacquil Taylor made it a two-point game with 46 seconds left, but Hofstra’s season ended Tuesday night as the seventh-seeded Pride fell, 84-78, to No. 2 North Carolina State in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C.
Taylor, who finished with 14 points, connected on tip-in off a Justin-Wright Foreman miss, but that was as close as the Pride (27-8) would get. Taylor was whistled for a foul on the next NC State possession, sending Markell Johnson to the line after he hit his own shot and pushed the Wolfpack lead back to four.
Johnson completed the three-point play with 19 seconds left on the clock. Hofstra did have a last-second look at the basket, but Jalen Ray’s three-point attempt came up empty.
Johnson finished with 26 points for NC State. Wright-Foreman, who scored 10 of the Pride's final 12 points, finished with 29 for Hofstra, making its first NIT appearance since 2016. Desure Buie added 13 for the Pride.
Hofstra did its best to stay close with NC State (23-11) throughout the game. The teams exchanged leads eight times in the first half and, despite an early push by NC State to start the second, Hofstra cut into the lead, making it a 62-60 game on Dan Dwyer’s layup with 10:08 to play.
The Wolfpack responded quickly, with a 9-2 run, capped off by Johnson’s three-pointer with just under eight minutes on the clock.
Still, Hofstra refused to go away and Wright-Foreman’s three-pointer with 2:24 made it a 78-76 game. Johnson, once again, was the answer, scoring on a layup just over a minute later and keeping the Pride from staging the late-game rally.
NC State dominated on the glass (49 rebounds to 32) and the Wolfpack’s presence down low proved the difference maker, as the squad pulled in 19 offensive rebounds and racked up 29 points on second-chance looks. Hofstra was held nine offensive boards, and scored nine second-chance points.
Despite the struggles in the paint, Hofstra’s defense did steal a bit of the spotlight, forcing 11 turnovers and recording seven steals.
The loss wrapped up one of the most successful basketball seasons in recent Hofstra history. The Pride set a school record for wins, breaking the previous mark of 26 set by the 2006-06 team, and captured the CAA regular-season title, the first outright conference crown for the program since the 2000-01 season in the America East.