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Hofstra will make rare ESPN appearance against Kentucky on Sunday

Bam Adebayo (Vicky Graff Photo)

Bam Adebayo (Vicky Graff Photo)

Hempstead, NY – The Hofstra Men’s Basketball team will play one of the most anticipated games in program history on Sunday when the Pride faces No. 6 Kentucky at 3 p.m. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 

The game will be televised nationally by ESPN. This will be Hofstra’s first-ever non-conference regular season appearance on ESPN. Overall it will be the program’s fifth-ever appearance on ESPN as they previously appeared on the network on March 11, 2000 vs. Delaware (America East Championship Game), March 10, 2001 vs. Delaware (America East Championship Game), March 6, 2006 vs. UNCW (Colonial Athletic Association Championship Game) and February 10, 2007 versus George Mason. Hofstra is 3-1 when appearing on ESPN.

Hofstra’s last game against a ranked opponent was versus Kentucky’s arch-rival, Louisville, on November 12, 2013. The Cardinals were #3 in the nation at the time. In addition, Kentucky will mark Hofstra’s ninth game against a ranked opponent in the Pride’s Colonial Athletic Association era (since 2001).

Hofstra is 6-4 overall heading into the game against the Wildcats. The Pride has won four of its last five games as it dropped a narrow 81-75 decision to St. Bonaventure on Tuesday in its last contest. Five players scored in double figures against the Bonnies, with junior Rokas Gustys leading the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Senior Deron Powers added 10 points and six assists, while junior Ty Greer posted 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists. 

Freshman Eli Pemberton, who was second on the team with 15 points against St. Bonaventure, is the Pride’s leading scorer this season at 15.3 points per outing. Gustys leads the team and the nation with 13.5 rebounds per game, while Powers has 44 assists this year, including 22 over the Pride’s last three games. Senior Brian Bernardi is also averaging double figures at 14.1 points per game and is joined by Powers at 12.5 points per outing. 

Kentucky is 8-1 this season and coming off an 87-63 victory over Valparaiso on Wednesday evening. Malik Monk leads the Wildcats with 19.3 points per game, while Bam Adebayo is fourth on the team in scoring (12.4 ppg) and leads the squad with 8.1 caroms per outing. De’Aaron Fox has dished out 67 assists to lead Kentucky and ranks third on the team with 15.1 points per game. Isaiah Briscoe is the other member of the Wildcats to average in double figures with 16.3 points per game. 

Hofstra has never faced Kentucky in the sport of men’s basketball. The Pride does have two wins all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference as they defeated Florida during the 1978-79 (68-67) season and Mississippi in 1990-91 (78-73). 

It will be a short turnaround for Hofstra following the game against Kentucky as the Pride will host their Long Island rival Stony Brook on Tuesday (12/13) at 7 p.m. 

Fans can purchase tickets by visiting HofstraTickets.com, where it is now possible to print their tickets at home. In addition, fans can also call (516) HOF-TIXX or visit the Hofstra Athletics Box Office in the Mack Sports Complex for more information. There will be FREE Pride of Long Island t-shirts for the first 1,000 fans in attendance.  

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