Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Hofstra squanders six-point lead en route to 70-57 loss to CAA rival Northeastern

Hofstra forward Stephen Nwaukoni walks off the court

Hofstra forward Stephen Nwaukoni walks off the court after his team's 70-57 loss to Northeastern in an NCAA Division I men's basketball game. (Jan. 25, 2014) Credit: James Escher

Hofstra's players entered Saturday's men's basketball game against Northeastern feeling pretty good about themselves.

The Pride had won three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association games, and a victory at Mack Sports Complex would have propelled Hofstra into sole possession of second place in the conference.

But those good feelings took a hit as the Pride fell to Northeastern, 70-57.

"We let a great opportunity slip away today," said a somber Joe Mihalich, whose team fell to 3-2 in CAA play and 6-15 overall. "It was very disappointing."

It was a game the Pride could have won.

"You talk about really wanting to win the game, you have to play like you really want to win a game," Mihalich said. "I just feel like we didn't do that today. We talk about handling success and handling failure, and obviously, we didn't handle having a little bit of success."

The game turned during a 6:24 span in the second half in which a 16-3 run by Northeastern (7-14, 4-3) transformed a 44-38 Hofstra lead into a 54-47 deficit with 8:50 left.

Guard Demetrius Pollard keyed the burst by scoring five of his 25 points, including one of his six three-pointers. Zach Stahl (five of his eight points) and Scott Eatherton (four of his 18) dominated the inside with easy baskets.

On the other end of the court, Hofstra turned the ball over four times and shot 1-for-7 from the field.

"We were bad at both ends," Mihalich said. "I don't want to be a wise guy. I don't know what was worse, our defense or our offense. They had us back on our heels the whole time."

Guard Dion Nesmith, a graduate student who played at Northeastern as a quarterback before the school dropped football, shot 7-for-10 and scored all of his 18 points by the time Hofstra took the six-point lead, but he was unable to find an open shot the rest of the way.

Nesmith, who transferred to Monmouth to finish his undergraduate studies, downplayed the encounter with his former school.

"It was another league game you wanted to win," he said. "I wanted to come out and have a strong performance. I kind of let my guys down today."

Zeke Upshaw, who had 12 points, shot 3-for-13.

"They set up the zone," he said. "I got the ball a little bit. It was tough, it was definitely tough."

The Pride has a chance to bounce back at Towson Monday before hosting Drexel on Wednesday.

"We don't have time to sit around and mope. We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves," Mihalich said. "We just got to go out there and put that chip on our shoulder and try to prove people wrong. We didn't prove it to anyone today."

New York Sports