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Tareq Coburn scores 26 points, closes out win for Hofstra

Hofstra's Tareq Coburn.

Hofstra's Tareq Coburn. Credit: Phil Hinds/Hofstra University

Hofstra’s Tareq Coburn knew he had to be ready.

After a 21-point first half in which the senior guard hit six three-pointers, the former Cardozo (Queens) product was limited by a tough Towson defense in the second half.

But that didn’t keep him down.

"I guess just play defense, that’s the game plan for the second half, grab [rebounds] on the glass; whatever it takes to help my team win," he said. "And stay mentally locked in and at the end to make free throws."

Coburn finished with a game-high 26 points, including a pair of crucial free throws with 4.2 seconds left, as Hofstra swept its weekend series against Towson with a nerve-racking 74-69 CAA victory at the Mack Sports Complex on Sunday.

Hofstra (9-6, 5-3), which led by as many as 14 points early in the second half, went without a field goal for a stretch of 5 minutes, 56 seconds. Towson (3-7, 2-3) took advantage and went on a 16-7 run to make it 64-60 with 5:33 left.

The Pride’s lead was whittled to a single point on two occasions in the final 3:20, including with Hofstra leading, 70-69, at the 1:20 mark after a pair of free throws by Towson’s Zane Martin (17 points).

Later, Towson’s Jason Gibson missed a jumper with less than 25 seconds to go. Martin grabbed the offensive rebound and made the putback, but was whistled for an offensive foul.

Hofstra’s Kvonn Cramer, who scored all 11 of his points in the second half, made two free throws with 23.7 seconds to push the lead to 72-69.

The Pride, who play an aggressive 2-3, half-court zone defense, were ultra-intense and forced Towson into a scramble situation on its next possession and forced a turnover with 6.7 seconds left. Coburn, who made one of two shots from the field in the second half after going 7-for-10 in the first 20 minutes, hit a pair of free throws with 4.2 seconds to close the scoring.

He had career-highs with three blocks and seven three-pointers. Jalen Ray added 16 points and seven assists in 39 minutes, and Isaac Kante chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds. The Pride, who were 12-for-24 on three-pointers, shot a season low eight free throws but made them all.

"The biggest thing is we’re playing with the right energy and effort. That’s got to become a standard," Hofstra acting head coach Mike Farrelly said. "That can’t be a sometimes thing."

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