The Hofstra men’s basketball team struggled early and put themselves in a 23-point, first-half hole against host St. Bonaventure on Saturday. Then, the Pride played well enough to climb all the way back and take a five-point lead with 6:08 remaining in the game, and a four-point advantage less than a minute later.
Unfortunately for Hofstra, its struggles reappeared late, as St. Bonaventure scored 15 of the game’s final 18 points and the Pride lost, 77-69, at the Reilly Center.
"We just got to a point, we just couldn’t close it out," acting head coach Mike Farrelly said. "I don’t know if I liked my play calls at the end. . . . I didn’t do a good job those last couple of minutes getting us a good shot."
The Pride’s Jalen Ray had 28 points to lead all scorers. He made a career-high six three-pointers on 6-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Isaac Kante added 15 points and 13 rebounds and had flashes of dominance in the paint against a talented St. Bonaventure frontcourt.
Hofstra’s leading scorer, Tareq Coburn -- who entered the game averaging 20.6 points per game -- had just nine points on 2 of 10 shooting, including 2-for-9 on three-point attempts.
The Pride missed their first three shots to open the game and were 3 of 15 from the floor, including 1 of 8 on three-pointers, as the Bonnies took a 30-7 lead with 9:40 left in the first half.
"You just can’t dig yourself that big of a hole against anybody," Farrelly said. "Let alone a good team like St. Bonaventure."
But Hofstra (3-3) fought back to get within 11 and trailed at the half, 43-28. The Pride used a 36-16 run to open the second half and went ahead 64-59 on a three-pointer by Ray with 6:08 to go.
"I was in attack mode," said Ray, who has 999 career points and looks to become the 39th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark on Tuesday at Richmond. "We fell behind and I knew we needed energy."
After a three-pointer by Alejandro Vasquez brought the Bonnies within 64-62 at the 5:45 mark, a pair of free throws from Kante with 5:22 left made it 66-62.
However, it was all St. Bonaventure (2-0) after that. The Bonnies went on a 13-0 run capped by a dunk from Osun Osunniyi (14 points, 12 rebounds). Kyle Lofton had 16 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds, and Dominick Welch added 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists for the Bonnies.
"We have to play a full 40 minutes," Ray said. "We can’t be just a second-half team."