Tuesday, February 27, 2007
By Bob Heller
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference men's basketball playoffs opened tonight and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia wasted no time, jumping out to a 17-2 lead over Holy Family University and made it hold up for a 55-50 win at the Campus Center on Holy Family's campus in northeast Philadelphia.
With the win, the sixth-seeded Devils improve to 13-14 overall and advance to the semi-finals of the CACC Tournament. Holy Family, the #3 seed in the tournament drops to 19-9 on the season.
Keith Dundas (Jr., Pennsbury HS/ Morrisville, Pa.) led three players in double figures for the Devils, scoring 13 points. Bill Kurtz (Sr., Shawnee HS/ Shamong, N.J.) and Eric Cangelosi (Sr., Camden Catholic HS/Haddon Heights, N.J.) added 12 points each while Howard Lanier (Jr., St. Augustine Prep/ Sicklerville, N.J.) and Collin Harrington (Sr., Bishop Eustace HS/Sewell, N.J.) chipped in eight apiece. Harrington also led the Devils with 12 rebounds. Dundas also dished out a game-high four assists.
Raheem Scott was the lone Tiger in double figures, scoring 14 points (10 in the second half). London Houston paced the Tigers on the boards with eight rebounds while Edward Greene-Long added seven boards to go along with his nine points.
The Devils never trailed in this one, pouncing on the Tigers right from the opening tip. Both teams exchanged baskets in the opening two minutes before the Devils scored 15 straight points to take a 17-2 lead. After Long followed up his own miss for a layup to tie the score at 2-2, the Devils got baskets from Harrington and Cangelosi, followed by a three-point field goal by Kurtz to lead 9-2 and force a Tiger timeout. After the timeout, Cangelosi made it 10-2 making the second of two free throws and Dundas boosted the Devils lead to 11, 13-2 with a three-pointer from the right side at the 15:10 mark. A layup by Harrington and two more free throws by Cangelosi and the Devils had a 17-2 lead with 12:40 left. Andrew Pressner's 3-ball brought the Tiger scoring drought and Houston added two free throws to pull Holy Family within 10, 17-7 with 11:11 left. The lead remained in double digits for the rest of the half, shuffling between 10 and 14 points as the Devils slowed down the pace on every possession, before Ryan Lancaster made his lone basket of the evening, a three-point field goal to make the score 34-23 with 1:18 left, which is where the score stood at the break.
The Tigers opened the second half with a 13-8 run to pull within six, 42-36 at the 13:13 mark. A basket by Dundas made the score 44-36 before Bruce Davenport made one of two free throws and Scott nailed a short jumper to close the gap to five, 44-39 with 9:52 left. A little over four minutes later, Scott hit a trifecta to pull the Tigers within four 48-44 with 5:15 left. Both teams scored no their next possession and the Devils still led by four, 50-46 with 4:38 left. Dundas then scored two straight baskets to give the Devils an eight-point lead 54-46 with 3:03 left. Greene-Long's follow-up layup at 1:46 made the score 54-48. A USP turnover led to another Tiger basket, making the score 54-40 with one minute left.
Reminiscent of the final minute of the February 5th game between these two teams at Holy Family's Campus Center, USP turned the ball over again, giving the Tigers a chance to cut the lead to two. The result this time was different. After another Tiger timeout with 14.4 seconds left, Scott had a pass picked off by Lanier who raced down the court and was fouled going in for a layup with 5.0 seconds left. Lanier made one of two free throws to make the score 55-50. Lancaster's (1-14 FG) desperation three-pointer fell short as the buzzer sounded, giving the Devils the win.
The Devils finished the game shooting 43.5% (20-46, 4-13 3FG) from the field and were 11-for-17 (64.7%) from the foul line. The Tigers shot 35.2% (19-54, 6-21 3FG) and were 6-for-11 (54.5%) from the foul line. USP held a slight advantage on the boards, 33-32 and produced a solid assist/turnover margin (13/14). The Tigers committed one fewer turnover (13) but finished the game with just nine assists.
The Devils advance to play the #2 seed Post University on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Dominican College (Orangeburg, N.Y.) in the semi-final round. Post defeated Felician College tonight 77-71. The Devils split the season series with Post, winning at home 64-57 on January 6th while losing at Post, 72-63 on February 3rd.