New Haven, Conn. – Senior forward Kyle McKissick stole the ball and hit the game-winning layup to lead the visiting Anna Maria College men's basketball team past Albertus Magnus, 81-80, on Tuesday evening in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action at The Nest inside the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center.
With the setback, the Falcons move to 14-5 overall and 10-4 in conference play, while the AMCATS snapped a six-game losing streak against Albertus Magnus to improve to 12-10 on the year and 8-7 in league tilts.
Coming off a timeout and leading by one point with 16 seconds left in regulation, Albertus Magnus turned the ball over underneath its own basket and McKissick laid it in for the eventual game-winner. Albertus Magnus saw its last second layup attempt clank off the back iron as time expired.
The second half was more exciting than the first as there were three ties and five lead changes over the final five minutes of play.
The hosts took their first lead of the contest with 5:13 left as sophomore guard Luciano Martinez (East Hartford, Conn.) capped a 7-0 Albertus Magnus run with an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Falcons up 75-73.
Over the next three minutes, the squads would trade buckets with a McKissick jumper from the elbow knotting the contest at 79 with 2:12 left. Both teams would go two possessions without scoring before Albertus freshman guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) stepped to the line with 34 seconds left on the clock. Pittman would hit one of two free throws to close out the scoring on the night for the Falcons and give the hosts an 80-79 lead.
Following a layup from Falcon freshman forward Shontaey Lovell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 3:01 on the clock, the guests held Albertus without a field goal. The home team missed its final five shots from the field and turned it over twice down the stretch.
The guests came out of the gates quickly, scoring on their first four possessions to hold an early 9-2 edge two minutes into play. Anna Maria hit two shots from three-point range to take the early lead. Three minutes later, Albertus Magnus pulled to within two at 16-14 following a dunk off an inbounds play by sophomore forward Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.). Anna Maria responded with a quick 5-0 run capped by a trey from senior guard Patrick Bradanese to make it a seven-point contest. The AMCATS never trailed during the first 20 minutes thanks to hot shooting from deep. The visitors hit 6-of-11 shots from beyond in the arc in the opening half paced by junior guard David Jean-Louis hitting all three of his attempt.
The Falcons pulled to within a bucket three times over the final 10 minutes of the first stanza, but each time the guests responded with spurts of their own. With less than 20 seconds left in the half, Martinez scored on a layup off a feed from Walters to pull the hosts within one at 44-43. On the ensuing possession, Bradanese converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give the AMCATS a 47-43 advantage heading into the break.
The Falcons received monster performances from Lovell and Walters in a losing effort. Lovell recorded his conference-leading 12th double-double of the winter thanks to a 19-point, 18-rebound performance, while Walters scored 16 and pulled down a game-high 19 boards. Lovell was efficient in the post, converting 7-of-9 shots and 5-of-7 from the charity stripe and he added a pair of blocks on the defensive end. Senior guard Marc Wilson (Jersey City, N.J.) and junior Grant Ellis (Neark, N.J.) also scored in double figures for Albertus Magnus, netting 16 and 11, respectively.
The balanced AMCAT attack saw four players score in double figures led by Bradanese and senior guard Tyler Delorey with 17 points apiece. McKissick recorded a double-double courtesy of pouring in 16 and grabbing 12 boards, while Jean-Louis had all 11 of his points in the first half.
Albertus Magnus returns to action on Thursday, February 11, with a road conference clash against Norwich at 7:00 pm. The Falcons are looking to complete the season sweep of the Cadets, having taking the first meeting between the two, 65-64, in New Haven in late November.