Thursday, January 4, 2007
By Bob Heller
East Stroudsburg University's Jeff Graves sank two free throws with 9.3 seconds left in the second overtime to seal a 98-94 come-from-behind victory for the Warriors over the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia tonight in a non-league men's basketball thriller at the Bobby Morgan Arena in Philadelphia.
The loss drops the Devils to 5-5. East Stroudsburg improves to 8-2 overall.
Howard Lanier (Jr., St. Augustine Prep/Sicklerville, N.J.) led all scorers with a career-high 26 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field and 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Eric Cangelosi (Sr., Camden Catholic HS/Haddon Heights, N.J.) added 24 points, connecting on 7 of 16 shots from the field and 9 of 15 from the charity stripe. Keith Dundas (Jr., Pennsbury HS/Morrisville, Pa.) also recorded a career high, scoring 20 points (9-12 FG, 2-2 FT). Dundas also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. William Kurtz (Sr., Shawnee HS/Shamong, N.J.) rounded out USP's Devil figure scorers with 11 points.
Channon Easley led the Warriors with 21 points before fouling out in regulation. Darron Bradley came off the bench to score 18 points before fouling out in overtime while Murvin English and Ronald Louis added 16 (8 in the overtime periods) and 12 points respectively.
Both regulation play and the first overtime concluded with thrilling finishes as a three-point field goal allowed play to continue in each instance. In regulation, the Devils went up by five on a Dundas layup with 17 seconds remaining. ESU's Louis came down and hit a 'trey' with 10 seconds left to make the score 76-74. Lanier was fouled and made one of two from the line to boost USP's lead back to three with 4.5 seconds left before English received the inbounds and dribbled down the middle and fired a NBA range three-pointer which kissed off the glass and through the net as the buzzer sounded, sending the game to overtime and capping a comeback from an 11-point halftime deficit by the Warriors.
The Devils again led by three late in the first overtime period only to have the Warriors come back and tie the game again. Cangelosi's free throw made the score 85-82 with 14.1 seconds left. English followed with a layup to pull the Warriors within one 85-84. Michael Mullane (Sr., Cherokee HS/Marlton, N.J.) then sank two free throws to again give the Devils a three-point lead, 87-84 - this time with 7.5 seconds left. English was again the hero, sinking a three point field goal with 1.1 seconds left to force a second overtime.
English opened the overtime with a traditional three-point play to put the Warriors up 90-89. Free throws by Cangelosi kept the Devils within one before Graves hit a jumper to put the Warriors up by three with 2:45 left. Lanier came down on the Devils next possession and nailed a 20-foot jumper to tie the game at 94-94 with 1:51 left. This would be the Devils last points of the game as Louis scored on a layup off a USP turnover with 26 seconds left and Graves iced the game with his two free throws with 9.3 seconds left, to make the final score 98-94.
The Devils had led by 11 at the half 36-25 , thanks to well balanced scoring by the Devils starting five and defensively forcing 12 Warrior turnovers in the period. East Stroudsburg chipped away at the lead, going on a 15-4 run after the Devils went up by 15, 42-27 to pull within four 46-42 with 14:18 left. Less than three minutes later, the game was tied at 49-49 and the battle was on. The remainder of the half saw seven ties and neither team gaining a lead greater than four until the Devils went up by five in the final seconds before the end of regulation.
For the game, the Devils shot 50.8% from the field (31-61) but were just 3-for-11 (27.3%) in the overtime periods. East Stroudsburg was 39-67 from the field for the game 58.2% including an 8-for-13 (61.5%) performance in the extra periods. From the free throw line, the Devils held the advantage, hitting 27 of 37 free throws (73.0%) to ESU's 11-for 20 (55%). The Warriors held a slight advantage on the boards, 37-34 and committed 25 turnovers to USP's 20. A total of 56 fouls were called in the contest with four players from ESU fouling out and all four USP starters finishing the game with four fouls apiece.
The Devils return to conference action on Saturday, January 6, 2007 with a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference game against Post University at the Bobby Morgan Arena. Tip off is slated for 3 p.m.