Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Rutgers Men’s Basketball

PISCATAWAY, NJ - MARCH 14: Nelson Boachie-Yiadom #32 of the Hofstra Pride raises his arms after defeating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 88-86 in overtime of a first round NIT tournament game at Jersey Mike's Arena on March 14, 2023 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)


A season that started out with so much promise, came to a sudden, sad conclusion Tuesday night at a packed Jersey Mike’s Arena, as a patch of raucous Long Islanders could be heard roaring from behind the visitors bench as Hofstra defeated Rutgers 88-86 in an overtime thriller.

At the end of the day, Rutgers couldn’t slow down Tyler Thomas and Darlinstone Dunbar. Both men controlled the point of attack, and nailed clutch shots down the stretch in regulation and in overtime that wound up doing in Rutgers.

It was Thomas who nailed the game winner on a jumper a step inside the arch at the top of the key that gave the Pride an 88-86 lead with 10 seconds to go. Derek Simpson followed with a missed layup as the seconds ticked away on the season.

Thomas led Hofstra with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting, and saved his most most important shots for crunch time. Thomas alone was responsible for seven Hofstra points down the stretch in the second half that forced overtime.

Dunbar contributed 17 points for Hofstra and was 3-of-5 from downtown. Dunbar hit a critical three-pointer with 6:01 to go in the 2nd half that cut the Rutgers lead down to three points. He also nailed a three in overtime that expanded Hofstra’s lead to 86-82.

As for Rutgers it was bitter loss. The Scarlet Knights held a five-point lead with 30 seconds to go in regulation, but couldn’t hold on. Nelson Boachie-Yiadom’s jumper tied the game at 74, stunning the crowd and the Scarlet Knights with two seconds to go.

That shot seemed to take the wind out of Rutgers’ sails.

Cam Spencer and Derek Simpson shot the lights out for Rutgers. Spencer led the way 22-points, while Simpson added 19 points. Both went 8-of-16 from the floor. In what is likely their final game together, Caleb McConnel and Paul Mulcahy both had a tough time scoring. McConnell, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and Naismith finalist, finished with nine points, while Mulchay managed 13 points in the loss.

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