Uniondale, NY -- Juan'ya Green found Rokas Gustys for the game-winning layup with 2.7 seconds left to lead Hofstra over Towson for the Pride's 19th win of the season Thursday night.
Green to Gustys for the game-winner. 84-82 Hofstra over Towson pic.twitter.com/yiOTMkTdxa— AJ Devine (@ADevine11) February 19, 2016
"I was just trying to get a mismatch. I was probably going to take a shot but I saw Rok' open," Green said after the game.
It was a game that featured 13 ties and 21 lead changes, but Hofstra held a 79-71 lead with about four and a half minutes to go. The Hofstra crowd was buzzing after threes by Green, senior forward Ameen Tanksley, and junior guard Brian Bernardi. But Towson quickly took back the lead after a 9-0 run.
Green, who finished with 21 points and 10 assists, stopped the run after getting fouled on a layup and converting the free throw. When Towson guard Mike Morsell converted his free throws on the other end to tie it back up, it set up the winning play from Green.
"I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm not the dumbest either," Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich said. "Green's gonna have the ball [at the end of the game], and he might have a stepback move, he might shoot a three, he might throw an incredible pass to Rok', or he might make the shot himself. But when you have a great player, you stay out of his way and let him make a great play. And that's why he's the [CAA] player of the year."
Towson forwards William Adala Moto and Timajh Parker-Rivera had their way in the interior, finishing with a combined 32 points and 13 rebounds. They were able to push Hofstra's bigs around in the paint, especially in the first half, when Towson shot 55% from the field. But Mihalich made some defensive adjustments, and the Pride shot 17-25 (68% )from the field in the second half. It ended up being just enough to win.
Gustys finished a perfect 8-8 from the field for 16 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Tanksley added 20 points for the Pride.
"Two really good teams, slugging it out, and we found a way to win," Mihalich said. "It's all gonna be about those three days in March for us, and this is the kind of game that gets you ready for it."
Indeed, with UNC-Wilmington's loss to William & Mary, the CAA favorite may be a little less clear. The Seahawks still lead the conference at 12-3, but Hofstra (19-8, 11-4) is now just a game back, with a game in Wilmington scheduled a week from Thursday night.
But first, the Pride has to get past a pesky Northeastern squad on Sunday. The Huskies are riding a three-game win streak, including beating JMU in overtime on Thursday night.