New Haven, Conn. – Freshman point guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) scored a team-high 34 points to lead the Albertus Magnus College men's basketball team past No. 14 Johnson & Wales, 102-94, on Saturday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action at The Nest inside the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center.
The Falcons avenged a road setback against JWU earlier this winter with the win to improve to 16-5 overall and 12-4 in league play, while the visiting Wildcats saw their 21-game winning streak come to an end with loss to move to 21-2 on the year and 15-1 in conference tilts.
Pittman scored 29 of his points in the second half as AMC broke open a tie game to earn the league triumph. Albertus Magnus never trailed during the final 20 minutes and built its lead to as many as 14 late in the frame following a layup in transition by senior wing Marc Wilson (Jersey City, N.J.) off a JWU turnover.
Seven minutes into the second half, Albertus Magnus turned a three-point lead into a 10-point advantage with a 7-4 capped by a layup by Pittman to make it 71-61. The Falcons maintained a double-digit lead until the guests made a run with under four minutes to play. With 2:16 left on the clock, Johnson & Wales cut the deficit to six at 88-82 after a layup from senior guard Quarry Greenaway.
Following an AMC timeout, sophomore forward Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) knocked down a wide open three after good ball movement to make it a nine-point game. JWU threatened down the stretch, cutting the deficit to just four at 96-92 with 20 seconds left after a steal and layup from senior guard Tom Garrick. The hosts would answer at the charity stripe as Pittman canned six free throws in the last 18 seconds to seal the win. In total, Pittman scored the final 11 Albertus points at the free-throw line during the last 90 seconds.
Back-and-forth the two squads went in the first half, as neither team led by more than two possesions. JWU got an old-fashioned three-point play from Robert Lewis late to make it 44-44 contest heading into halftime. Junior guard Grant Ellis (Newark, N.J.) and Wilson paced the Falcons over the first 20 minutes with 11 points apiece.
Pittman had his best game as a Falcon, knocking down 7-of-8 shots from the field and 17-of-21 from the free-throw line. The speedy guard hit all three of his shots from beyond the arc and added five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Ellis and freshman forward Shontaey Lovell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each netted 14 for the hosts, while Wilson and sophomore guard Chaunce Dunbar (Windsor, Conn.) poured in 17 and 10, respectively. Lovell recorded his conference-leading 13th double-double of the season thanks to pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Greenaway paced the JWU attacked with a game-high 35 points on 13-of-26 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Jarell Lawson poured in 18 points thanks to knocking down all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. Three other Wildcats scored in double figures in the loss.
Albertus Magnus returns to action on Tuesday, February 16, with a road conference clash against Mount Ida at 6:00 pm. The Falcons are looking to complete the season sweep versus the Mustangs, having taken the first meeting between the two, 98-82, in mid-January.