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Hofstra climbs out of deep hole, but falls to St. Bonaventure

Tareq Coburn of Hofstra moves the ball against

Tareq Coburn of Hofstra moves the ball against St. Bonaventure at the Reilly Center on Saturday. Credit: Craig Melvin

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."

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