In a hard-fought battle, the #6 Albertus Magnus men's basketball team edged the Johnson & Wales (R.I.) Wildcats 77-75 in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) match-up on Saturday afternoon. Tavon Sledge (Spring Valley, N.Y.) made a key steal and connected on a layup in the final seconds of the contest to lift the Falcons over the Wildcats.
The Falcons improve to 21-1 on the year with the win, while they remain unbeaten in league play at an unblemished 15-0. JWU falls to 18-5 overall and 13-3 in the league standings to remain in second place behind the Falcons.
With 13 seconds left in regulation, senior Lemar Larsen (Waterbury, Conn.) hit two free throws to tie the game at 75 apiece. Quarry Greenaway turned the ball over with three seconds to go as Sledge made the play and finished with the final bucket of the contest.
This was the second-straight buzzer-beater victory for the Falcons over the Wildcats after Albertus hit a three pointer in the final seconds of a 94-91 win in New Haven back on Dec. 4.
Sledge finished today's contest with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting in 39 minutes of work. He led a group of four Falcons in double figures. Victor Ljuljdjuraj (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) added 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Eian Davis (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished with 14 points in 40 minutes. Larsen contributed with 12 points.
The Falcons shot 46.4% from the floor in the first half led by 13 points from Sledge and 10 from Davis. Ljuljdjuraj tallied 10 rebounds and eight points in the opening frame as the Falcons went into the halftime break with a 40-31 lead.
Tom Garrick had 15 points for the Wildcats on 6-of-15 shooting.
In the opening half, back-and-forth play kept the game close early on before JWU took a 24-19 lead at the 8:07 mark. A 10-0 Albertus run in a span of five minutes gave the Falcons a 29-24 lead. The Falcons' nine-point lead at the break was their largest of the half.
In the second half of play, the Falcons controlled tempo early on. JWU stayed around, staying within striking distance, before a 10-2 run in a span of 2:26 late in the frame cut the Falcons' lead to two at 67-65.
With 2:51 to go in the contest, Jarel Lawson hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 69. A layup less than 40 seconds later gave JWU a two-point lead before Albertus tied the contest with two free throws by Davis.
Greenaway gave the Wildcats the lead with 43 seconds left before Ljuljdjuraj knocked down two free throws to tie the game once again. Greenaway hit two free throws with 21 seconds on the clock to give JWU the lead before a foul put Larsen on the line.
Larsen's two attempts were good as JWU followed with the late turnover and an Albertus bucket to end it.
Albertus finished the contest 51.9% from the field, while the Falcons were out-rebounded 43-31. JWU outscored the Falcons 44-37 in the second half but shot only 54.2% from the charity stripe and under 44% from the floor.
Garrick finished the contest with 21 points. Greenaway added 18.
Albertus is now 20-24 all-time against the Wildcats, including a 6-15 clip on the road. Today marked the fifth-straight win over JWU as the Falcons have won eight of the last nine meetings.
The Falcons return to action on Tuesday when they host Emmanuel College in a GNAC match-up. The Saints are 8-14 on the year and 6-10 in league play.