Hofstra pulls away late for 77-66 CAA win over Delaware

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The Hens’ Kory Holden finished with 23 points and seven assists in Saturday’s loss to Hofstra. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — For much of the game, Delaware played like it didn’t know it was supposed to be losing.

It didn’t matter that the Blue Hens had only six wins and Hofstra had 17.

Delaware looked like a pretty confident bunch when it built a nine-point lead with 14:48 left in the game on Saturday.

But maybe it was just too good to last.

The Pride netted 12 of the contest’s final 13 points to pull away to a 77-66 win over the Hens in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball at the Carpenter Center.

Having just snapped a 15-game losing streak on Thursday, Delaware (1-13 CAA, 6-19) had ideas of posting back-to-back victories for only the second time this season.

With the contest tied, 65-65, guard Anthony Mosley had a driving layup roll off the rim. Hofstra (10-4 CAA, 18-8) then ran the ball back the other way for a layup that put it in front 67-65 with 2:21 remaining.

That was that.

The Hens missed their final five shots along with two turnovers as the Pride ran away with it.

“We weren’t able to finish tonight,” said coach Monte’ Ross. “In the second half, we played like we expected to win the game. But they just made a few more plays than we made. It’s just unfortunate.”

“It’s not satisfying to lose,” said senior Marvin King-Davis, who had 16 points and eight rebounds. “But we did fight as hard as we could the whole game. We just had a couple missed plays at the end.”

Hofstra simply had too many players who can hit a big shot when it needs one. All five of the Pride’s starters finished with at least nine points while five different players hit at least one three-pointer.

As a team, Hofstra was 11-for-26 from beyond the arc.

Certainly, it looked like the Pride might put away Delaware early when it jumped out to a 20-6 lead. Hofstra sank five of its first six threes in the game.

But the Hens got things settled down, eventually taking a 28-27 advantage at halftime. By the time the Hens’ lead grew to 45-36 in the second half, Delaware had outscored the Pride 39-16 in a 20-minute span.

Sophomore guard Kory Holden sparked that run, finishing with 23 points and seven assists. He went 4-for-9 from three-point range but also had six turnovers.

Delaware still led 54-46 with 9:07 remaining on a fastbreak dunk from Mo Jeffers.

Mosley then netted seven of his 11 points in the final 5:26, tying the score on three different occasions. Eventually, however, the Hens ran out of gas.

Hofstra also went 7-for-8 from the foul line in the final minute.

“Really, the only thing that killed us was the turnovers,” said Holden. “And then they made shots down the stretch and we didn’t.”

With four regular-season games remaining, the Hens have no realistic chance of finishing higher than ninth in the 10-team CAA. Still, Delaware’s players believe they can make something happen in the CAA tournament.

“We’ve played everybody now,” said Holden. “We’ve seen what we’ll be facing. We all believe we can still win it. Yeah, we’ve got a bad record but that doesn’t really matter.”

Extra points

Delaware was just 7-for-8 from the free-throw line compared to 16-for-22 for Hofstra. … Injured sophomore forward Skye Johnson may return to action next weekend. He’s been out since Dec. 31 when he took an elbow in the face from Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys. … On Saturday, Gustys, a 6-foot-9, 259-pound Lithuanian, had 18 points and 21 rebounds. His 21 rebounds tied for the fifth-most by as UD opponent. … A low-post player, King-Davis took his first career three-point attempt in the closing seconds. It missed. … Holden has scored at least 20 points in 11 games this season.

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