LOS ANGELES (AP) — Career nights from Desure Buie and Jalen Ray helped propel Hofstra to one of its biggest wins in school history.
Buie scored 29 points and Ray added 27 as the Pride rallied in the second half for an 88-78 victory over UCLA on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion.
“Those two guys weren’t going to let us lose,” coach Joe Mihalich said. “It’s almost hard to put this win into words. We’re almost numb with excitement.”
Eli Pemberton added 15 for the Pride (3-2), who made 12 3-pointers along with going 24 of 30 on free throws. Ray made five from beyond the arc and Buie did not miss in 13 trips to the line.
Hofstra trailed 59-51 with 13:50 remaining before scoring eight straight points, including a pair of Ray 3-pointers. The Pride led 69-68 before taking control with a 13-4 run to go up 82-72 with 2:49 left. Ray had five points during the spurt and Buie added three.
“We were able to feed off each other,” Ray said. “We got some momentum at the end of the first half and were able to carry it into the second.”
The Bruins have lost three times to mid-major programs at Pauley the past two seasons, but Hofstra was poised to pull off the upset. The Pride — who reached the NIT last season — are the preseason favorite to win the Colonial Athletic Conference and have three senior starters.
“We got exposed,” Cronin said. “We have young, inexperienced players. We got beat off the dribble seemingly every possession.”
Jalen Hill scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for UCLA (4-1), which suffered its first loss under Cronin. It is Hill’s second double-double of the season and fifth of his career. Cody Riley added 12 points before fouling out with 8:22 remaining.
Hill said he could feel the tide turning in the second half and was unable to stop it.
“From last year I saw it a lot and knew what was happening. It was tough seeing it unfold. We had a lot of unforced turnovers tonight,” he said.
UCLA led by as many as 13 in the first half before Hofstra went on a 22-10 rally over the final eight minutes to get within 42-41 at halftime. Ray scored eight points and Blue added seven during that stretch.
The Bruins made 12 of their first 17 from the field to start the game but hit 4 of 15 the rest of the first half. They were 29 of 61 (47.5%) for the game but 6 of 22 from 3-point range — including 1 of 10 in the second half.
Hofstra: This is the first time the Pride have defeated UCLA in three meetings. It is also their first win over a Power Five program since defeating Florida State in 2015.
“We’ve had some great chances for big wins the last couple years but were not good enough. Tonight we were,” Mihalich said. “We got UCLA at a good time.”
UCLA: Cronin knows he has a young team that will have plenty of growing pains, but the one thing that had him fuming was only nine deflections on defense. Cronin said that was a career low for him as a coach.
“We don’t have enough fortitude and they tested it tonight because they had only seven turnovers. As a coaching staff we were concerned about a lot of things and we were exposed,” he said.
Hofstra Travels to Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.
UCLA: Faces BYU in a first-round game at the Maui Invitational on Monday.
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