Northfield, Vt. – The Albertus Magnus College men's basketball team opened the second semester of play with an 86-69 road victory versus Norwich in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action on Thursday night at Andrews Hall.
The Falcons (7-3, 3-1 GNAC) bounced back from back-to-back road losses to score their 17th straight win against the Cadets (4-7, 1-3 GNAC).
Junior forward Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) paced the Albertus Magnus attack with his fourth consecutive double-double and eighth of the winter thanks to a 23-point, 11-rebound performance. Walters knocked down 11-of-17 shots from the field and four of his boards came on the offensive end. In his first action of the season, senior guard Grant Ellis (Newark, N.J.) poured in 22 points thanks to hitting four shots from three-point range and four from the free-throw line. Classmate Devin Coleman (Bridgeport, Conn.) and sophomore guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) were the other Falcons in double figures. Coleman netted 17 points, while Pittman had 13 points and 10 boards for his first double-double of the year.
Three players scored in double figures for Norwich, led by Joe Bertrand with 21 points in 26 minutes off the bench. Bertrand shot 8-of-13 from the field and converted on all three of his free-throw attempts. Junior Darius Bryant, making his second career start, played a team-leading 35 minutes and scored 15 points alongside nine rebounds. Sophomore Daniel Haimes scored 10 points, rounding out the double-digit scorers.
Albertus Magnus blew open a four-point game in the second half, shooting over 51 percent from the field (15-of-29) and outrebounding the Cadets, 21-9. Over the final 20 minutes of action, the guests did a good job distributing the ball, racking up 10 assists on 15 made baskets. Norwich commited just one turnover in the second stanza, but shot just 34 percent (10-of-34) to see the game slip away.
After a trey from Ellis with six and a half minutes left in the first half to break a 24-24 tie, the Falcons never trailed in the contest. Albertus Magnus stretched its lead to as many as 19 late in regulation following a pair of free throws from Ellis.
The Cadets opened up a 16-11 lead with 13:32 to go in the first half following four-straight points from Bertrand. Albertus Magnus countered with eight unanswered, including three straight foul shots from Coleman, to capture a 19-16 edge with 11:19 left. Bertrand would again power his team's offense with a layup at 8:24, creating a 22-21 lead for the home team.
With the score tied at 24, the Falcons took the lead for good by using a dominant 11-5 run that included three treys and a dunk from Walters to establish a 35-29 lead. Norwich would not lead again in the contest, but would threaten following back-to-back Bertrand triples in the second half, cutting the lead to 51-49 only 4:31 into the stanza.
Albertus Magnus returns to action on Saturday, January 7, with a road conference contest against Rivier that is slated to begin at 1:00 pm. Last winter, the Falcons swept the season series with the Raiders.