Towson men's home winning streak ends with 76-73 loss to Hofstra on buzzer-beating 3-pointer

The Towson men’s basketball team fell out of its comfort zone Thursday night, losing for the first time at home this year, 76-73, to Hofstra before an announced 1,257 at SECU Arena.

The Tigers (12-6, 2-3) appeared to be on their way to their 15th consecutive home victory, but the game unraveled in the final minute of play and ended on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Hofstra freshman Jalen Ray.

“This one hurts,’’ Towson coach Pat Skerry said. “It kind of feels like someone took your lunch money and just ran out the door.”

It didn’t have to end that way. The Tigers had the ball with the score tied and were playing for the last shot, but guard Brian Starr put up a long 3-point attempt a bit too early and the Pride had just enough time to get back down the court for the dramatic game-winner.

It was Towson that had to rally at the end of the half, erasing a five-point deficit to head into the locker room with a 43-38 lead. also led the Tigers with 12 points in the half.

“We left some time on the clock,’’ Skerry said. “I think it’s a little bit tricky for a player. Maybe we went a couple seconds too early, but it’s hard when you’re open to say, ‘Oh, shoot, I can’t shoot this one.’ That’s a tough spot for a guy. If he makes it, he’s a hero like their guy.”

The Tigers got a big night off the bench from sophomore forward Justin Gorham (Calvert Hall), who led Towson with 20 points on a 7-for-7 shooting night.

Hofstra junior Justin Wright-Foreman led all scorers with 35 points and brought the Pride from behind twice in the final 79 seconds of regulation. He put Hofstra ahead with a contested layup plus a free throw, but Towson’s season scoring leader, Zane Martin, answered immediately with a short jumper to put the Tigers back on top by a point.

It didn’t have to end that way. The Tigers had the ball with the score tied and were playing for the last shot, but guard Brian Starr put up a long 3-point attempt a bit too early and the Pride had just enough time to get back down the court for the dramatic game-winner.

It was Towson that had to rally at the end of the half, erasing a five-point deficit to head into the locker room with a 43-38 lead. also led the Tigers with 12 points in the half.

“We left some time on the clock,’’ Skerry said. “I think it’s a little bit tricky for a player. Maybe we went a couple seconds too early, but it’s hard when you’re open to say, ‘Oh, shoot, I can’t shoot this one.’ That’s a tough spot for a guy. If he makes it, he’s a hero like their guy.”

The Tigers got a big night off the bench from sophomore forward Justin Gorham (Calvert Hall), who led Towson with 20 points on a 7-for-7 shooting night.

Hofstra junior Justin Wright-Foreman led all scorers with 35 points and brought the Pride from behind twice in the final 79 seconds of regulation. He put Hofstra ahead with a contested layup plus a free throw, but Towson’s season scoring leader, Zane Martin, answered immediately with a short jumper to put the Tigers back on top by a point.

Martin also had an opportunity to give the Tigers more of a cushion with 40 seconds left, but missed a pair of free throws. Starr would make a pair to put Towson up by three with 26 seconds left, only to have Wright-Foreman tie the game six seconds later with the 12th of Hofstra’s 13 successful 3-point shots.

“We didn’t guard 3s and we didn’t rebound the ball,’’ Skerry said. “We scored enough points and we obviously shot a high percentage. We didn’t exact get the shot we wanted at the end. We would prefer to drive it.”

The Tigers were trying to extend the ninth-longest home winning streak in Division I, but they couldn’t shake the Pride in the first half. Towson took a quick 8-2 lead and was up by six a couple of times before Hofstra exploited a decisive early rebounding advantage to get right back into the game and trade baskets with the Tigers until halftime.

It was Towson that had to rally at the end of the half, erasing a five-point deficit to head into the locker room with a 43-38 lead. Gorham also led the Tigers with 12 points in the first half.

The Tigers were coming off a pair of home victories, winning by double-digit margins over UNC Wilmington and the College of Charleston, but that only evened their CAA record after opening the conference schedule with road losses to Charleston and Elon.

HOFSTRA—Trueheart 3-9 0-0 9, Gustys 5-9 0-0 10, Pemberton 3-10 4-6 12, Buie 0-1 0-0 0, Wright-Foreman 12-19 5-6 35, Radovic 0-2 0-0 0, Sabety 2-3 0-0 4, Angus 0-3 0-0 0, Ray 2-4 0-0 6, Wormley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-60 9-12 76.

TOWSON—Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Martin 5-9 6-8 17, Keith 5-8 0-2 10, Starr 1-7 4-4 6, Morsell 2-4 2-2 7, Tunstall 3-3 0-0 6, Gorham 7-7 6-8 20, McNeil 1-3 0-0 2, Morman 1-5 3-4 5. Totals 25-46 21-28 73.

Halftime—Towson 43-38. 3-point goals—Hofstra 13-26 (Wright-Foreman 6-11, Trueheart 3-6, Ray 2-3, Pemberton 2-4, Radovic 0-1, Buie 0-1), Towson 2-11 (Morsell 1-2, Martin 1-5, McNeil 0-1, Starr 0-3). Fouled out—Gustys. Rebounds—Hofstra 31 (Trueheart 7), Towson 23 (McNeil 5). Assists—Hofstra 16 (Wright-Foreman 6), Towson 14 (Keith 5). Total fouls—Hofstra 25, Towson 17. A—1,257 (5,250).

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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