It truly was a day of nostalgia Saturday at Hofstra. The basketball team was referred to all afternoon as the Flying Dutchmen and senior guard Justin Wright-Foreman continued to zoom up the school’s scoring list while leading his soaring team to yet another home victory.
Wright-Foreman scored 37 of his school record-tying 48 points in the second half and the Pride overcame a 10-point deficit to improve to 14-0 at home this season with a 93-87 victory over William & Mary at sold-out Mack Sports and Exhibition Center in Hempstead.
Wright-Foreman became the eighth player in program history to amass at least 2,000 career points, surpassing former NBA player and current Pride assistant coach Speedy Claxton with 2,029 for seventh on the Hofstra scoring list.
“It means a lot, especially to do it here at Hofstra,” Wright-Foreman said. “I just want to thank my coaches . . . for just giving me a chance and believing in me. Speedy recruited me, and to be able to surpass him is just incredible. I don’t know, I’m kind of at a loss for words right now.”
People definitely are talking about Wright-Foreman and Hofstra, which followed its easiest conference win of the season — a 41-point thrashing of Elon on Thursday — with perhaps its toughest.
But they all count the same as Joe Mihalich’s team improved to 11-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association and 21-4 overall while chasing the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since back-to-back trips under Jay Wright in 2000-01.
“It’s actually easy to [not think about that], because we haven’t been to the tournament for a long time,” Mihalich said. “We want our best basketball to be ahead of us, not behind us. We know how tough it is . . . and we know we have to keep getting better.”
Wright-Foreman committed two early fouls and scored only 11 points in 12 minutes in the first half, but the senior guard from Queens took over the game after intermission to tie the longstanding school record of 48 by Bill Thieben set in 1954-55.
Wright-Foreman actually had a crack at 50 — which would have tied Navy’s David Robinson’s CAA record (1987) — but he clanked a drive in traffic off the rim with about 10 seconds remaining.
“I couldn’t believe I missed that,” Wright-Foreman said with a smile before burying his face in his hands.
Hofstra trailed 56-46 barely three minutes into the second half, but Wright-Foreman scored 24 points in the next 13 minutes for an 82-81 lead with 3:25 to go.
He then pushed the lead to six with two free throws, a spinning jumper and his seventh three-pointer of the game to make it 89-83 with 1:14 remaining.
Desure Buie and Jalen Ray each hit two free throws in the final 35 seconds to seal it.
“No. 3 was not going to let us lose this game,” Mihalich said of Wright-Foreman. “Without thinking about hundreds of games, I can’t think of another performance like that.
“I was lucky enough to be an assistant coach [at LaSalle] for a guy who’s the third all-time scorer in the history of the game, Lionel Simmons, who scored 3,000 points. He never did this . . . As you’re coaching, you’re trying not to also be in awe.”
Nathan Knight was a handful inside and led William & Mary with 39 points and 14 rebounds.
Buie added 16 points and Jacquil Taylor had 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Pride.
Justin Wright-Foreman tied the single-game record for most points in a game for Hofstra.
48: Justin Wright-Foreman, vs. William & Mary, 2019
48: Bill Thieben, vs. Wilkes, 1954-55
47: Steve Nisenson, vs. Wagner, 1964-65
45: Steve Nisenson, vs. West Chester, 1962-63
44: Demetrius Dudley, vs. Central Connecticut State, 1992-93
44: Steve Nisenson, vs. Catholic, 1963-64