Anna Maria Hands No. 19 Falcons First GNAC Loss

Photo by Ron Waite
Photo by Ron Waite

Anna Maria College defeated the No. 19 Albertus Magnus men's basketball team 97-88 to give the Falcons their first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) loss of the season. 

With the win, the AMCats break the Falcons' 35-game regular-season win streak in league play, dating back to the 2010-11 season. The Falcons' 35-game streak was the longest current streak in the nation in Division III men's basketball. Buffalo State University and Becker College hold the all-time Division III men's basketball record at 37-straight regular-season conference wins.

Today's contest saw 13 lead changes, while the score was tied 12 times. The loss moves the Falcons' overall record to 15-2 on the year, while their GNAC mark moves to 10-1.

With less than two minutes to go in regulation the AMCats (9-7, 7-2 GNAC) held a 91-85 lead before the Falcons missed their final four shots from the field as Anna Maria extended its lead to nine points at 97-88.  Albertus was held without a field goal in the final 4:49 of the contest.

The Falcons shot 48.3% from the field, while the AMCats shot 46.2% in a high-scoring contest. The Falcons went 26-of-40 from the free-throw line for a 65% showing and were led by four players in double-figures.

Darius Watson (New Britain, Conn.) led the way for the Falcons with 29 points and six rebounds, while Arshad Jackson (Hartford, Conn.) added 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor. Jackson, who now has 896 career points, has scored in double figures in five out of the last six contests.

James Jennings (Stratford, Conn.) added 15 points, while Lemar Larsen (New Haven, Conn.) chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season. 

The Falcons shot 51.9% from the floor in the opening half and took their largest lead of the half of eight points with 14:08 on the clock as freshman Marc Wilson knocked in a jumper to give the Falcons a 19-11 advantage.

Anna Maria tied the game at 27 with 7:43 left in the frame before a 10-4 run gave the Falcons a 37-31 lead. Both teams traded baskets in the final three minutes of the half before the Falcons took a 43-42 lead into the break.

The AMCats opened the second half on a 6-2 run to take a three-point lead before play continued to go back-and-forth throughout the rest of the contest.

Today's contest was a rematch of the 2012 GNAC title game when the Falcons won their second GNAC Tournament crown with an 88-54 commanding victory over the AMCats.

Albertus will play at Lasell College on Thursday, Jan. 24 in a 7:30 p.m. match-up.