The Albertus Magnus men's basketball team battled from a 10-point halftime deficit to take an 89-77 victory over Suffolk on Saturday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference play. Darius Watson (New Britain, Conn.) scored 33 points on 13-of-23 shooting to lead the Falcons to their fourth-straight victory.
The win gives the Falcons a 9-1 record on the year, while they improve to 4-0 in the GNAC. The Falcons have now defeated Suffolk in seven-straight contests, dating back to the 2008-09 season. The last time that Albertus lost to the Rams was on Feb. 23, 2008. Today's Suffolk loss drops the host team to 4-6 on the year and 1-3 in the league.
Today's victory also marks head coach Mitch Oliver's 68th win at the helm of the Falcons. He is now one win away from tying Bob McMahon's record of 69 with the most wins in program history as McMahon earned those victories during his 10-year tenure from 1997-2007.
After going into the halftime break with a 10-point lead, the Rams found themselves playing catch-up after Albertus put together a 16-0 run in a span of 6:08 midway through the second half. The Falcons shot 60.6-percent from the floor in the second half, hitting 20 of their 33 attempts to overcome their double-digit deficit.
Albertus shot just 39.5-percent from the floor in the first half as the Falcons committed 11 turnovers. Suffolk shot a stellar 55.9-percent from the field, hitting 19 of its 34 attempts in the opening frame.
The first half was a battle between the two programs as the score was tied four times, while the lead changed three times. Suffolk broke open a tied ballgame at the four minute mark as Chris Torres connected on a four-point play to give the Rams at 34-30 lead. The junior guard gave the Rams a 10-point lead at the halftime break as he hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to put the Rams up 47-37.
Watson scored 24 of his 33 points in the second half as he fell just two shy of his career-high tally. With 33 points, the contest marked Watson's fifth-straight game with 20 or more points and his second game of the year with 30 or more.
Ray Askew (Hamden, Conn.), who entered the game needing just 21 rebounds to reach the 1,000-mark plateau, pulled down 19 as he will enter Tuesday night's GNAC contest at Rivier just two shy of that milestone. Askew is just three rebounds away from tying the GNAC rebounding record of 1,001. That record is held by Rivier's Jeff Carpenter (2005-08).
Askew scored 13 of his 27 points in the first half as he pulled down 13 boards in the first half as well. Askew shot 10-of-19 from the field for the Falcons as he was 7-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Suffolk committed 21 turnovers on the afternoon as the Falcons scored 24 points off those miscues. The Falcons finished the game shooting 49.3-percent from the floor as they hit 35 of their 71 attempts. Both teams struggled from behind the arc as the Falcons hit just 6-of-17, while Suffolk made four of their 11 tries.
After today's loss, Suffolk will look to rebound on Tuesday, Jan. 10 with a GNAC contest at Emmanuel.
Albertus will head to Nashua, N.H. on Tuesday to take on Rivier for the second time in the last month. In their previous meeting, the Falcons cruised to a 90-59 victory over the Raiders led by a career-high 35 points from Watson. Game time on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.