MIAMI (AP) - Joel Suarez scored 22 points in 24 minutes as Hofstra beat Northern Illinois 81-57 Friday in the first game of the FIU Tip-Off Classic.
Hofstra will play the Florida International-Belmont winner in the championship game Saturday. The Huskies will play the consolation game.
In a season opener for both teams, the game was close until the Pride went on a 27-8 run that gave them a 77-43 advantage. Hofstra was up 35-24 at halftime.
Mike Brown led Northern's Huskies with 20 points, mostly creating his own offense. Jerry Sanders added 13. Leon Rogers was 2-of-7 from the field, scoring only four
points, 10 below his average last season.
``I thought Mike Brown did a good job taking the ball to the basket,'' Northern coach Brian Hammel said. ``I thought he penetrated well, trying to make some plays.''
Suarez's backcourt mate, Jason Hernandez, had 17 points, five assists and five steals.
The Pride pulled away by shooting 55 percent in the second half.
Greg Springfield had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Hofstra. Norman Richardson scored 14 points and Roberto Gittens 10.