Tyler Thomas hit a game-winning jumper with 10 seconds left in overtime on Tuesday night for Hofstra, which overcame a five-point deficit in the final minute of regulation to upset top-seeded Rutgers, 88-86, in a National Invitation Tournament first-round game in Piscataway, N.J.
The Pride (25-9) trailed 74-69 when Caleb McConnell converted a layup with 30 seconds left in the second half. But Thomas hit a 3-pointer and Derek Simpson missed a free throw with 18 seconds left for Rutgers (19-15), after which Nelson Boachie-Yiadom put back a missed 3-point attempt by Jaquan Carlos to force overtime with two seconds left.
The teams combined to shoot a blistering 76.9 percent (10-for-13) in overtime, including 4-for-5 from 3-point land. Hofstra never trailed after Thomas opened the extra session with a jumper, but Rutgers overcame a quartet of four-point deficits and tied the score on a layup by Simpson with 32 seconds left.
Thomas responded with the go-ahead basket. After a timeout, Simpson missed a running layup and the ball bounced out of bounds as time expired.
Hofstra — which won its first NIT game since edging Saint Joseph’s 77-75 in overtime in a second-round game in 2006 — will face the winner of Wednesday’s Cincinnati-Virginia Tech game.
Thomas finished with 25 points for Hofstra, including 11 after Aaron Estrada — who entered Tuesday averaging a team-high 20.5 points per game — fouled out with 6:51 left. Darlinstone Dubar scored 17 points while Estrada had 13 points.
Carlos added 12 points and Boachie-Yiadom finished with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Pride, who earned an automatic bid to the NIT after winning the regular-season championship in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Cam Spencer had 22 points for Rutgers, which, despite being one of the NIT’s top seeds, squandered an early 10-point lead Tuesday night. Simpson scored 19 points while Clifford Omoruyi (14 points) and McConnell (13 points) also got into double figures.
–Field Level Media