A second-half surge from the Duquesne Men’s Basketball Team was not enough as it fell to Hofstra 73-63 Saturday night at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
Freshman guard Primo Spears paced Duquesne (1-1) with 17 points, 16 of which were scored in the second half.
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Sophomore forward Kevin Easley Jr added 14 points and 10 rebounds, good for his first double-double of the season.
Hofstra (1-1) graduate student guard Zach Cooks scored a season-high 29 points and sank five three-point shots on the evening. Aaron Estrada and Darlinstone Dubar also got into the scoring act, netting 14 and 12 points respectively.
It was a fast start for a Hofstra team which displayed a fearlessness on the offensive end, opening on a 12-3 run which included two three-point shots.
Cooks set the early tempo and Hofstra was able to pick up its efficiency from its season-opener where they nearly upset #15 Houston.
Duquesne had opportunities to get back into the contest as Dubar was called for a technical foul after some extracurriculars following a basket, but that did not faze Hofstra. Additionally, the Dukes offense went cold at times, and multiple open layups were missed.
Cooks went coast-to-coast, beating the first-half buzzer and giving the Pride their largest lead, 41-23 at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, Dambrot brought his regular five starters onto the court, with one exception, as he placed Mike Bekelja onto the court.
Bekelja was more of a defensive-based player last season and it sent a message that Duquesne was seeking to make strides in its defense.
Duquesne responded by scoring the first 11 points of the second half and Spears scored 11 points prior to the first media timeout, which saw the Dukes cut their deficit to five points.
Austin Rotroff, who was initially expected to return in January, appeared in this game and in the second half converted an and-one play which saw both him and the Red & Blue Crew erupt in approval.
Though he missed the free throw and Hofstra came up empty on its next possession, the Dukes were now within three points.
Duquesne had further opportunities to cut the lead, but were unable to do so and a Dubar three-point basket brought Hofstra back into its attack, as its advantage stretched to 10 points into the media stoppage.
Both sides continued to battle and Duquesne began to creep closer as Spears floated a midrange two-point shot attempt that beat the buzzer, allowing the Dukes to trail by six points.
The Dukes would not get any closer as it could not sink shots to help its cause.
Duquesne wraps up its three-game homestand Monday when it hosts Weber State. The contest will tipoff at 7 p.m. and be carried by ESPN+.