Saturday, March 3, 2007
By Bob Heller
Sam Cricelli's tip-in of a missed free throw with 22 seconds left in the game gave fifth-seed Caldwell College all the points they needed as they hung on to defeat sixth-seed University of the Sciences in Philadelphia 61-60 in a thrilling Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Men's Basketball Championship game this evening at Dominican College in Orangeburg, New York.
The Devils finish their season with a 14-15 record. Caldwell improves to 19-11 and moves on to the NCAA Tournament with the CACC's automatic bid.
Eric Cangelosi (Sr., Camden Catholic HS/Haddon Heights, N.J.) led the Devils with 16 points and nine rebounds. Howard Lanier (Jr., St. Augustine Prep/ Sicklerville, N.J.) added 15 points and a game-high four assists while Keith Dundas (Jr., Pennsbury HS/ Morrisville, Pa.) chipped in 11 points. Collin Harrington (Sr., Bishop Eustace HS/Sewell, N.J.) and Bill Kurtz (Sr., Shawnee HS/ Shamong, N.J.) had eight and seven points respectively. Harrington also had nine rebounds. Cangelosi and Dundas were named to the CACC All-Tournament Team.
Cricelli led the Cougars with 14 points. B.J. Suchy added 13 points and Jean Georges; the CACC Tournament MVP had 12 points. Michael Luzzi recorded a game-high 10 rebounds while Hans Stelzer set up the Cougar offense with four assists. Cricelli also had nine rebounds.
The game went back and forth the entire second half with neither team leading by more than three points. There were six ties in the final 20 minutes and 12 lead changes. The Cougars had their largest lead of the period, three points 53-50 with 3:35 left. Cangelosi pulled the Devils within one 53-52 only to have the Cougars go back up by three, 55-52 with 2:42 left. On USP's next possession, Kurtz came off a screen and hit a three-point field goal to tie the game at 55-55 with 2:15 left. Georges countered with a 3-ball of his own and the Cougars led 58-55 with 1:56 left. Thirty seconds later, Dundas sank a pair of free throws to pull the Devils within one, 58-57. After Suchy missed a pair of free throws, Lanier drove the lane and made a layup as Suchy committed his fifth foul, giving the Devils a 59-58 lead. Lanier completed the three point play and the Devils led by two. USP's defense held and the Devils got a quick outlet to Dundas whose layup attempt was blocked. Cangelosi had the rebound knocked out of his hands and was then called for the foul going for the loose ball sending Cricelli to the free throw line for a one-and-one. Cricelli sank the first free throw to make the score 60-59. He missed the second and the ball was tapped in the air with Cricelli eventually tapping it in for the decisive points with just 22 seconds left. The Devils had one last final opportunity but Kurtz's layup attempt was blocked as time expired and the Devils season came to an end with a heartbreaking 61-60 loss.
There were a total of 12 ties and 22 lead changes throughout the course of the game with the Cougars holding a five point lead during the first half, which turned out to be the biggest margin by either team in the game. The Devils did lead at the break 31-29 thanks to a 5-0 spurt in the final 30 seconds capped by Lanier's three-point field goal at the buzzer. Caldwell opened the second half with five straight points and the see-saw battle continued for the remaining 19 minutes.
Both teams finished the game with nearly identical statistics. The Devils made 22 field goals on 46 shots (6-15 3 FG) to finish the game shooting 43.5%. The Cougars also took 46 shots and made 22 field goals (5-12 3 FG) to finish the game shooting 47.8%). Both teams took 20 free throws with the devils holding a 14-12 advantage. The battle of the boards as a tie with both teams posting identical numbers on both the offensive and defensive glass (9 offensive, 21 defensive, 30 total). USP committed 15 turnovers (13 assists) while the Cougars committed 14 turnovers (11 assists).
Cangelosi closed out his career with 1,327 points in 110 games played to rank 15th on the Devils all-time scoring list. Kurtz, who also eclipsed the 1,000-point mark earlier this year finished his career with 1,268 points to rank 20th on the Devils all-time list. Bill also finished his career as the Devils all-time leader in three-point field goals made with 273 and has the second best free throw shooting percentage in Devils history (81.7%). Cangelosi also made 397 career free throws to rank 7th on the Devils all-time list. Harrington finished his career with 739 points and 525 rebounds (24th all-time). Collin also had 63 career blocks (11th all-time). Lanier has 202 career assists (27th all-time) and 94 career steals (14th all time). Kurtz and Cangelosi are also ninth and tenth respectively on the Devils all-time steals list with 115 and 105. Michael Mullane (Sr., Cherokee HS/Marlton, N.J.) posted the best season numbers of his career this year and closed out his career with 379 points and a 74.2% free throw average.