Saturday, February 21, 2004
By Bob Heller
For the second consecutive game, the USP men’s basketball team came out firing in the second half as the overcame an early deficit to defeat host Dominican College 72-66, earning their third straight win and their first win ever in Orangeburg, New York.
With the win, the Devils improved to 14-9 overall and 14-4 in the CACC. The win also secured a home playoff game for USP as they can finish no worse than third place.
The Devils shot 66.7% from the field in the second half, connecting on 14 of 21 shots. This performance comes on the heels of a 76% second half shooting spree against Bloomfield on Wednesday.
A pair of juniors led the way for the Devils. Gene Willard (Jr., Cardinal O’Hara HS/Broomall, PA) and Chris Brattelli (Jr., Highland Regional HS/Clementon, NJ) each scored 19 points for the Devils. William Kurtz (Fr., Shawnee HS/Shamong, NJ) came off the bench to score 11 points and Jeff Miller (Sr., Interboro HS/Prospect Park, PA) chipped in 10 points, all in the second half.
The Devils found themselves trailing by 14 points midway through the first half thanks to a 17-4 run by Dominican which put the Chargers on top 27-13 with 8:28 left in the period. The Devils, however got back in the game, outscoring the Chargers 14-4 over the last 6:14 to trail by only three, 35-32 at the half.
Six minutes into the second half, the Devils took their first lead since in early in the first half, 47-46, on a layup by Eric Cangelosi (Fr., Camden Catholic HS/Haddon Heights, NJ). The lead changed hands three times over the next six minutes with the Chargers taking a 56-54 lead with 7:25 to go. Chris Dougherty’s (Jr., Haverford HS/Haverford, PA) layup 20 seconds later tied the game 56-56 and Miller’s three-pointer put the Devils up three, 59-56 with 6:26 to go. Cangelosi’s two free throws boosted the lead to five, 61-56 at the 5:48 mark before Dominican pulled back within two on a layup and foul shot by Andrew Marsh. Miller connected on another three-pointer as the shot clock was winding down to put the Devils back up by five 64-59 with 4:25 to go.
Both teams exchanged baskets and the Chargers added another score at the 2:45 mark to pull within three 66-63. Forced to foul, Dominican put the Devils on the line three times in the final minutes. USP connected on all six of their foul shots in the final minute to help seal the win. Kurtz hit two free throws with 27 seconds left to put USP up five 68-63. After giving up a three-pointer to Dominican, Miller and Willard each sank a pair of free throws in the last 12 seconds to make the final score, 72-66.
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