New Haven, Conn. – The Albertus Magnus College men's basketball team held off a second-half Suffolk rally to score an 81-74 victory in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) on Saturday afternoon at The Nest inside the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center.
The Falcons (6-2, 2-1 GNAC) scored their fifth straight home win as four players scored in double figures, while the Rams (2-7, 1-2 GNAC) dropped their second conference game in a row.
Senior guard Shaquille Mitchell (Linden, N.J.) continued his strong play with a game-high 22 points off the bench for Albertus Magnus. Mitchell knocked down 8-of-16 from the field and also pulled down seven boards to pace the AMC attack. Classmate Devin Coleman (Bridgeport, Conn.) poured in 18 for the hosts thanks to hitting four shots from the beyond the arc, while junior forward Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) recorded his sixth double-double of the season thanks to a 10-point, 18-rebound performance. Sophomore guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) was the other Falcon in double figures with 12 points courtesy of hitting eight shots from the free-throw line.
It was a balanced offensive attack for Suffolk as three players netted 14 or more points. Junior guard Matt McLean had a career day off the bench, pouring in 15 thanks to shooting 4-of-6 from three-point range. Sophomore guard Jim Djema also netted 15 for the guests with seven of his points coming from the charity stripe. Sophomore big man Steven DiPrizio chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds for the Rams and freshman Thomas Duffy was the other Suffolk players in double figures with 10.
Albertus Magnus blew open a close game early on with an impressive 22-0 run. After a lay up from Suffolk freshman guard George Grillakis pulled the visitors to with one at 5-4 two and a half minutes into the game, the Falcons reeled off the next 19 points capped by Coleman trey to take a 27-4 lead midway through the first half.
The two squads would trade baskets over the next six minutes before a layup by Suffolk sophomore guard Michael Hagopian cut the Ram deficit to 13 at 40-27. The hosts would close the first half strong, scoring the final seven points of the half following Hagopian's bucket to take a 47-27 advantage into the break.
Suffolk battled back in the second half and the cut the deficit to single digits at 56-47 following a trey from McLean with 11:49 left in regulation. With two and a half minutes left in the game, the Rams pulled to within six at 71-65 after another three McLean three from the wing. On the ensuing possesion, AMC took a nine-point lead as Pittman drove to hoop and scored as he was fouled. His free throw converted the old-fashioned three-point play to give the Falcons the momentum back. Down the stretch, the hosts hit their shots from the foul line to escape with the win.
Albertus Magnus has now won eight straight against Suffolk and is 14-5 all-time versus the Rams in the Elm City. The last eight Falcon victories in the series have each been by 10 or more points dating back to 2013-14 campaign.
Albertus Magnus closes out the first semester of play next Saturday, December 17, with a road non-conference showdown against New Jersey City that is slated to begin at 3:00 pm. The Falcons are 2-0 all-time versus the Gothic Knights with the last meeting coming back in December of 2014.