Boston, Mass. – The Albertus Magnus College men's basketball topped host Suffolk, 80-70, on Tuesday evening in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action inside Regan Gymnasium. With their fourth straight victory, the Falcons improved to 4-0 on the year and 2-0 in conference play, while the Rams dropped to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in league tilts.
Albertus Magnus, who is receiving votes in the most recent d3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, scored more than half of its points in the paint (50) and received double figure showings from three different players to keep their undefeated record intact. Freshman forward and reigning GNAC Rookie of the Week Shontaey Lovell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led the way for the Falcons with 22 points, while sophomore guard Chaunce Dunbar (Windsor, Conn.) and junior transfer Bernard Kline (Waterbury, Conn.) recorded 15 and 11 points, respectively. The Falcons were dominant in the post, outrebounding the Rams, 42-30, and turned 12 offensive boards into 16 points. Sophomore Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) continued his steady, all-around play early in the year, scoring eight points to go along with a game-high 15 rebounds and six rebounds.
Matt Duquette led the Rams with 25 points thanks to a 9-of-15 shooting performance from the floor, while also knocking down 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. The senior added four boards and two helpers to his stat line. Jake Meister provided 13 points, all in the second stanza, while Caleb Unni chipped in 12 all in the first frame. Steven DiPrizio paced Suffolk on the glass, as the freshman grabbed seven boards off the bench to go along with four points and one block.
Over the opening minutes, Suffolk and Albertus Magnus went basket-for-basket, before the visiting Falcons turned up the volume and used a run-and-gun game-plan to leap out in front, 21-9. Unni put an end to the 12-2 spurt by Albertus Magnus with a trifecta that jump started a 10-3 run that pulled the hosts within five, at 24-19, at 8:02 remaining in the first half.
Albertus Magnus Head Coach Mitch Oliver called for a timeout to regroup the Falcons, but Suffolk's comeback continued out of the break. Unni put in three free throws and Matt Duquette swished back-to-back buckets in the lane to make it a two-point game with 5:01 on the clock before the intermission.
With the Falcons ahead by six, 37-31, and time expiring in the first frame, Matt McLean made a behind-the-back bounce pass to Adam Chick on the left wing. The senior captain connected on the trey, but Falcon sophomore Luciano Martinez (East Hartford, Conn.) put in a set from the charity stripe to give Albertus Magnus a five-point lead, 39-34, heading into half time.
Over the first 20 minutes Suffolk shot 36.4 percent from the field (8-22) and 73.7 percent (14-19) from the line to hang with an Albertus Magnus team that went 48.3 percent (14-29) from the field and 42.9 percent (3-7) from three-point range. Duquette lead all scorers with 13 first-half points with Unni also put up double-digits, 12.
After the break the Rams continued to chip away at the Falcons lead, but it was not until a Suffolk strung together six unanswered points that the hosts were within striking distance, 57-56. Albertus Magnus senior guard Dayron Caldwell (Bayonne, N.J.) broke up the Rams run, but a traditional and-1 from Meister locked things at 59-all with 8:31 to play.
Suffolk went ice cold from the floor over the next five minutes and Albertus Magnus took advantage, building a 73-61 lead with under four minutes remaining. A corner jumper by Rams ended the draught and was followed by Meister's second and-1 of the evening to cut the deficit to nine, 75-66, with two and a half minutes left. The Rams did not get any closer, however, as the Falcons used the clock to their advantage to seal the 80-70 victory.
Albertus Magnus College returns to action on Thursday, December 3, with a road conference clash against Bay State foe Emmanuel at 7:00 pm. Last year, the Falcons swept the regular season series versus the Saints and then topped Emmanuel in the GNAC Quarterfinals.