Looking at the box score, College of Charleston coach Earl Grant still couldn't believe that the Cougars had lost to Hofstra just moments earlier.
Charleston had plenty of things to feel good about. The Cougars had outrebounded the Pride 34-32 and had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (nine assists to eight turnovers). The Pride had shot just 43 percent for the game, while the Cougars had made nine 3-pointers.
But it was the Cougars' failure to get defensive stops in the final four minutes that led to their downfall.
Juan'ya Green scored 26 points and Ameen Tanksley added 17 points to lead Hofstra past the College of Charleston, 71-66, Thursday night before a crowd of 1,805 at TD Arena.
It was the seventh straight loss for the Cougars (5-11, 0-3 in CAA), who are in the midst of the school's longest losing streak since the 1978-79 season. Hofstra improved to 12-4 and 3-0.
"I feel bad for the guys because I thought they played well enough to win," Grant said. "The effort was there. We outrebounded them. We shot the ball well, especially from 3. We didn't turn the ball over, but we just didn't get stops down the stretch."
It was the play of Green and Tanksley that proved to be pivotal for the Pride. Both came into the game among the Colonial Athletic Association's top scorers. It was Green, the Niagara University transfer, that took over the game down the stretch. When Green wasn't knocking down a 3-pointer or drawing a foul, he was making 13 of 14 free throws, including a half-dozen in the final minute of regulation.
"I give Juan'ya Green and Ameen Tanksley all the credit," Grant said. "Green had 26 points and missed only one free throw all night. Tanksley had 17 points. They looked like two first-team all-conference players to me tonight. We had no answer for them late in the game."
If the Cougars are going to end their losing streak, they'll have to find ways to finish off a game, Grant said.
"To really be good you have to really be stingy during the final four minutes of the game," Grant said. "You really have to get stops and get every rebound. With three to four minutes to go, every position is crucial. We just didn't get enough stops when it mattered most."
Grant still believes that the Cougars will be a good basketball team by the end of the season.
"I told the guys that the season is like a marathon," Grant said. "It's 18 hard laps. When you look at it that way, three is not a whole lot compared to the 15 we've got coming up. We're getting better. We've got to keep finding a way to stick together through a very humbling experience."
It was a typical grinding, intense conference game for both teams. At one point the Cougars were shooting just nine percent from the floor during the first half.
Slowly both teams began to find their offensive rhythm as Hostra lead 28-24 at halftime.
Charleston opened the second half on a 13-8 run and grabbed a 37-36 lead on Anthony Stitt's layup with 12:53 to play.
But the Pride answered with four straight 3-pointers and took a 49-42 lead on Tanksley's 3-pointer with 8:50 to play.
It was Charleston's turn next as the Cougars went on a 13-2 spurt and held a 55-52 lead on Cameron Johnson's 3 with 4:49 to play.
Green had the final say, scoring 10 of the next 14 points for the Pride as they pulled away for the victory.
The Cougars will take on Delaware at 6 p.m. Saturday at TD Arena.