No NCAA Tourney for Hofstra: UNC Wilmington upsets top-seeded Pride in CAA semifinals


Hofstra’s special season has a disappointing ending.

The Pride, the CAA’s No. 1 seed, were taken down in overtime on Monday by No. 4 UNC Wilmington in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament at Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. The final score: 79-73.

The loss snapped Hofstra’s 12-game win streak, effectively ending the team’s hopes of making it to the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s just heartbreaking for me,” said Hofstra guard Aaron Estrada, the 2022-23 CAA Player of the Year, in the post-game interview. “I know how much work this team put in each and every day. I feel like we deserve to play in the [NCAA] Tournament.”

The winner of the CAA Tournament wins an automatic bid to March Madness. This will be the 22nd straight year The Pride has missed out on The Big Dance.

Led by former alum and NBA player Speedy Claxton, Hofstra had a phenomenal run this season, finishing the regular season atop the CAA standings with a sizzling record of 23-8.

In two years as head coach, Claxton has led The Pride to back-to-back 20-plus win seasons. Claxton, who made the NCAA Tournament as a player for Hofstra in 2000, was named 2022-23 CAA Coach of the Year. He was also rewarded with an unspecified multi-year contract extension to remain with The Pride.

The Pride was coming off a dominating win in the quarterfinals, thrashing No. 8 William & Mary 94-46 — the largest margin of victory in the tournament’s history.

This loss stung.

“To win 12 games in a row and to be on point, you’re bound to have an off night, an off-stretch,” said Claxton. “That’s kind of what happened tonight. We just got cold at the wrong time.”

Top: Hofstra guard Aaron Estrada (#1) diving for a loose ball in the CAA Tournament semifinals. (Credit: CAA/Facebook)