New Haven, Conn. – The Albertus Magnus College men's basketball team overcame a slow start to edge visiting Norwich, 65-64, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action on Tuesday night at The Nest inside the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center.
With their third straight win, the Falcons improve to 3-0 on the year and 1-0 in league play, while the Cadets suffered their third setback in a row to drop to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in conference tilts.
The back-and-forth game saw the visitors erase a 10-point deficit with three minutes left in regulation. After a Shontaey Lovell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) free throw gave the Falcons a 63-53 lead, the Cadets would score the next 11 points to take the wind out of the gym and a one-point lead with 16 seconds remaining. Over the final four minutes of play, the opportunistic Norwich defense held the Falcons without a field goal. Trailing by one, Norwich took the lead for the first time in the second half courtesy of three-pointer from sophomore guard Ryan Booth with time winding down.
On the ensuing possession, Cadet freshman forward Chi Ogbue was whistled for a foul in the post and Albertus sophomore Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) made the guests pay. Walters knocked down the first to tie the game and jarred the second with 11 ticks left on the clock to give the hosts a one-point edge at 65-64.
With no timeouts left, Norwich quickly inbounded the ball and raced up court. Dribbling around a screen just outside the three-point line, Cadet sophomore guard Zygimantas Sirvydas had the ball stolen by Lovell as the Falcons escaped with the victory.
Norwich came out of the gates charging, jumping out to an early 11-0 lead over the first six minutes of action. Albertus Magnus had trouble settling into a groove and missed their first 11 shots from the field. Over the first 10 minutes of action, the Falcons connected on just 1-of-18 shots as the Cadets built an early, 15-3, edge.
Long-range shooting and pressure defense brought the hosts back into the game with a trey from sophomore guard Chaunce Dunbar (Windsor, Conn.) bringing the Falcons to within five at 21-16 with a little over five minutes remaining in the first half. The reigning GNAC Champions closed the first stanza on an 11-7 spurt to trail by just one at the break. Down by three with time winding down, Albertus senior wing Marc Wilson (Jersey City, N.J.) slashed to the basket and buried a runner to beat the buzzer.
The victory marked the 59th consecutive for Albertus Magnus on its home floor, which is the best active streak at any level in the NCAA.
Lovell paced the Falcon attack once again, recording his third straight double-double. He battled all evening in the post, scoring a team-high 14 points and pulling down a game-best 17 rebounds. Lovell grabbed an impressive nine offensive rebounds and shot 6-of-14 from the floor in his first collegiate start. Walters had another quality game for the Falcons, finishing one rebound shy of double-double. The 6-6 sophomore scored 12 points, had nine boards and dished out a team-high four assists. Dunbar and senior guard Dayron Caldwell (Bayonne, N.J.) each added nine points for Albertus Magnus thanks to three field goals from beyond the arc apiece.
Sirvydas gave the AMC backcourt headaches all night, scoring a career-high 22 points to go along with a game-high eight assists and six rebounds for the Cadets. The speedy guard did a good job getting to the basket and the free-throw line, knocking down 13-of-14 from the charity stripe. Booth added 15 points and nine boards for the guests on 3-of-6 shooting from three-point range, while sophomore center Mike Hogervast recorded a double-double. The 6-11 second-year was efficient, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and five blocks.
Albertus Magnus returns to action after the Thanksgiving holiday with a road conference clash against Suffolk on Tuesday, December 1, at 7:00 pm.