Saturday, January 15, 2005
By Bob Heller
This afternoon's game against the Nyack College Warriors served as a confidence builder for the University of the Sciences Men’s Basketball Team as they overcame a seven-point second half deficit to defeat their hosts, 69-63 before a nearly packed house at Nyack's Bowman Gym.
Chris Brattelli (Sr., Highland Regional HS/Clementon, NJ) paced the Devils with 20 points. Brattelli also pulled down seven rebounds. Gene Willard (Sr., Cardinal O'Hara HS/ Broomall, PA) added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double while Bill Kurtz (So., Shawnee HS/Shamong, NJ) chipped in 14 points.
USP trailed by one at the half, 34-33. However, Nyack opened the final period of play with a 9-3 run to go up by seven with 16:39 left. The Devils then started their rally with a pair of baskets by Brattelli to make the score, 43-40. After Nyack's Antaeus Hayes hit a three-point field goal to put the Warriors back up by six, USP's Collin Harrington (So., Bishop Eustace HS/Sewell, NJ) connected for two off a Chris Dougherty (Sr., Haverford HS/Haverford, PA) pass and Willard followed with a 15-foot jumper to pull USP within two 46-44 with 13:41 left. Nyack doubled their lead to four on two free throws by Lataiva Escho at the 12:32 mark.
Escho's free throws made the score, 48-44. The Devils defense put the pressure on the Warriors, holding them scoreless for the next 4:09 while the USP offense scored eight straight points to take their first lead of the half. Harrington made two free throws to cut the lead to two 48-46 and Kurtz followed with a three-pointer to make the score 49-48 in favor of USP at the 10:26 mark. Kurtz added another 'trey' at the 8:40 mark to put the Devils up four 52-48 before the Warriors countered with a three-point field goal of their own to pull back within one 52-51 with 8:23 left.
Once the Devils got the lead, the players were determined not to give it up. USP held the Warriors to just one field goal over the next three minutes as they built a seven-point advantage of their own, 61-54. Nyack still had one more challenge to make. A pair of free throws by Adam Bauman and a three-point field goal by Mufutau Ibrahim cut the Devils lead to two, 61-59 with 4:38 left.
Ibrahim's three-pointer would be Nyack's last field goal until the 1:09 mark as USP's confidence and intensity levels increased. Eric Cangelosi (So., Camden Catholic HS/ Haddon Heights, NJ) had a short jumper to put USP up four 63-59 and Kurtz added a bucket of his own to make the score 65-60 with 3;#6 left. Both teams failed to score on their next two possessions and USP still clung to their five point margin with just 90 seconds left. Hayes made one of two free throws at the 1:30 mark to pull Nyack within four 65-61. Ten seconds later, Kurtz countered by making one of two free throws and the lead was back to five. Escho connected on a layup with 1:09 left to pull Nyack within three 66-63. The Devils added three more free throws two by Pete Adams (Sr., Camden Catholic HS/Marlton, NJ) over the final 1:09 to round out the scoring and come away with the six-point win.
With the win the Devils improve to 6-7 overall and 5-3 in CACC action.
USP returns to the friendly confines of the Bobby Morgan Arena for their next game, a CACC contest against Caldwell College on Tuesday, January 18, 2005.