Jameel Warney, who took over inside in the second half, made a layup with nine seconds remaining to give Stony Brook a 65-64 lead. The Pride quickly went to Nesmith, who finished with 18, and he nailed the game winner.
Stony Brook (1-2) led 30-25 at the break, but Hofstra made 17 of 26 from the field in the second half, outscoring the Seawolves 41-35.
Stony Brook got a little breathing room, taking a 61-54 lead with 5:03 remaining. Hofstra charged right back as Tanksley and Brian Bernardi each nailed 3-pointers and Bernardi made a free throw to tie at 61 with 3:23 left.