Hofstra’s two premier players put forth record-breaking performances, but it was not enough to lift the Pride to victory.
Justin Wright-Foreman scored a career-high 39 points including the 1,000th of his career while Rokas Gustys pulled down 23 rebounds. Despite this pair of tremendous performances, Hofstra fell to CAA foe Elon 89-76 and dropped to 2-2 in conference play.
Just two days after Gustys reached the 1,000 point milestone, Wright-Foreman joined the club with a jumper late in the first half. The Queens native had a chance to become the first Hofstra player to score 40 or more points in a game since 2000, but multiple opportunities in the final minutes rimmed out.
“It means a lot,” Wright-Foreman said of the accomplishment. “Not a lot of players score 1,000. It’s just an honor and I’m happy I could do it here.”
Gustys himself continues to reach new heights with the ninth 20-plus rebound game of his career. The Lithuanian native corralled 16 boards in the first half, and with his 20th of the game assumed sole ownership of second place on the CAA’s all-time leading rebounding list.
Elon set the tone from the start, opening the game on a 9-0 run over the first 2:43. Hofstra responded to knot things up at 33-all in the final minute of the stanza before Elon’s Dmitri Thompson banked in a three as the half concluded.
The second half began much the same as the first, as the Phoenix rushed out to a nine point lead less than three minutes into the period.
— Hofstra Basketball (@HofstraMBB) January 7, 2018
Elon went on to shoot 8-14 from behind the arc in the second half and finished the game 51% from the field. It was the third time this season the Phoenix had shot better than 50% from the field against Division I competition, but the first time they came out ahead on the scoreboard.
“That’s a team you have to defend, and we defended very poorly,” Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said. “Whether it’s the game plan or the execution of the game plan defensively, the personnel, or all of the above, we didn’t defend well enough. You can’t let a team like that get feeling good.”
Overall, Elon finished the evening at a stellar 1.24 points per possession while placing five players in double figures for the second time this season and the first in regulation.
Tyler Seibring led the way with 22 points on 9-12 shooting while Brian Dawkins and Thompson each added 18. Dainan Swoope and Steven Santa Ana pitched in with 10 apiece.
Both Seibring and Thompson were in range of 1,000 career points at the start of the afternoon, and each surpassed the milestone late in the game. Seibring’s three-pointer with 10:12 remaining in the second half pushed him over the threshold while Thompson’s final bucket at 4:17 let him meet the milestone. Respectively, Seibring and Thompson became the 40th and 41st players in program history to reach the plateau.
Hofstra now finds itself in the middle of a wildly competitive CAA with an opportunity to make up ground on a challenging road trip next week. The Pride will first travel to take on 2-2 Towson before heading to Philadelphia to face down Drexel.
Vincent Simone covers the MAAC, Hofstra, and more for NYC Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.