New Haven, Conn. – The Albertus Magnus College frontcourt of freshman Shontaey Lovell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and sophomore Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) combined for 29 points and 31 rebounds to lead the men's basketball team past visiting Rivier, 80-64, on Monday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action at The Nest inside the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center.
The Falcons erased an early eight-point deficit to improve to 11-3 overall and 7-2 in conference play, while the Raiders suffered their fifth straight loss to drop to 2-14 on the year and 2-7 in league tilts.
The guests came out hot, jumping out to an early 10-2 edge over the first three and a half minutes of action. During the spurt, Rivier hit two shots from three-point range and forced three Albertus Magnus turnovers. The Falcons offense would wake up and go on an 18-2 run to hold an eight-point lead at 20-12 with 11:28 left in the opening half following a layup from Walters.
Throughout the remainder of the first stanza the two foes traded baskets and a three-pointer from Raider senior guard Cullen Donovan to close out the half cut the Albertus lead to just four at 35-31 heading into the break.
After a slow start, Lovell exploded in the second half as AMC stretched its lead to as many as 23 late in the frame. The 6-5 big man scored all 16 of his points over the final 20 minutes of play and knocked down 5-of-6 from the field and 6-of-7 from the line. Albertus Magnus freshman point guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) hit three three-pointers down the stretch as the Falcons offense proved to be too much for the Raiders to handle, outscoring the guests, 45-33.
Lovell and Pittman both finished with a team-high 16 for Albertus. The 16-point outburst was a career-high for Pittman who also added three rebounds, three steals and one assist. Lovell finished in double figures for the 14th straight contest and recorded his 10th double-double of the winter thanks to a 17-rebound performance. The 17 boards were one shy of his career-best and it marked the sixth time this season he pulled down 15 or more rebounds. Walters continued his strong play with 13 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting from the field to go along with 14 rebounds. Senior wing Marc Wilson (Jersey City, N.J.) was the other Falcon in double figures, pouring in 12 points to go along with a game-high four steals.
The Raider backcourt of junior Victor Davila and senior Anthony Simmons combined to score half of the team's points (32) and dish out eight assists, while knocking down six shots from three-point range. Davila had a game-high 20 points and Simmons scored 12 on 4-of-11 shooting.
Albertus Magnus returns to action on Saturday, January 23, with a road conference clash against Norwich at 3:00 pm. The Falcons are looking for the season sweep, after topping the Cadets, 65-64, earlier this season in New Haven.