Saturday, December 20, 2014

Men's Basketball: Roberts Wesleyan 75 UDC 71

Clenso Brannon III (#2) defends vs. Jamaal Carter

From our friends at UDC Athletics...

Slow Start, Poor Finish Haunt Firebirds in Narrow ECC Loss vs. Roberts Wesleyan

The Firebirds fought back from a 9-0 hole to start the game and even led by as many as six in the second half, but a 20-6 Redhawk run in the second half turned a six-point deficit into an eight-point lead for Roberts Wesleyan, which ultimately held on to beat UDC, 75-71 in East Coast Conference play Friday night at the UDC Sports Complex.

The Firebirds had their two-game win-streak snapped as they fell to 2-9 overall and 2-1 in league play with tonight's loss. Roberts Wesleyan, meanwhile, improved to 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the ECC. The Redhawks have now won five of their last six games.

Michael Terry led all players with 21 PTS & 13 rebounds

Senior guard Michael Terry (Criminal Justice - Philadelphia, PA/Boston U) led the Firebirds with a double-double of game-highs, 21 points and 13 rebounds. Rookie sensation Kory Cooley (Art - Silver Spring, MD/Calvin Coolidge HS) added 17 points and three steals, and senior point guard Quasim Jones (Mass Media Arts - Philadelphia, PA/Johnson CC) dished out a game-high five assists as well.

Quasim Jones led all players with 5 assists

Roberts Wesleyan, meanwhile, featured a balanced offensive attack that included four double-figure scorers. Forward Tyrel Dixon led the way with team-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Fellow forward Isaac Medeiros added 16 points and nine rebounds.

Clenso Brannon III added 7 PTS & 7 boards

The Redhawks out-shot UDC 48-percent to 37-percent from the field and 44-percent to 32-percent from three-point range. The Firebirds, in fact, missed their first seven shots from the field as they dug themselves a 9-0 hole to start the game. They did, however, turn the ball over five fewer times than RWC (13-8), and scored 15 points off of Redhawk turnovers over the course of the game.

Erin Senegal scored 10 points off the bench

UDC fell behind 14-5 with a little over five minutes played, but Cooley gave the Firebirds a spark with a free-throw and two consecutive three-pointers to kick-start what amounted to a 20-7 UDC surge which powered the hosts to a 25-21 lead as the first half approached the six-minute mark. The Redhawks responded, however, with a 15-4 run, and took a 36-29 lead courtesy of an Aleks Miljenovic three-pointer at the 2:25 mark. Sophomore guard Reggie Sidbury's (Social Work - Landover, MD/Charles Herbert Flowers HS) three-pointer at the 2:05 mark was the last scoring play of the half as RWC led, 36-32 at intermission.

Mike Riley... rockin' the burgundy sweater

Nearly three-minutes into the second half, Roberts Wesleyan had extended its lead to six, 44-38, thanks to a three-pointer by reserve guard Mike Stone. At that point though, UDC went on a 16-4 tear that included five points by junior forward Clenso Brannon III (Graphic Design - Washington, DC/College of Southern Maryland) and four points by junior transfer guard Erin Senegal (Political Science - Lafayette, LA/Caldwell). A layup by freshman guard Masner Beauplan (Business Management - East Orange, NJ/Winslow Township HS) capped of the run and gave UDC its largest lead of the night, 54-48.

The Redhawks had an answer, however, as a jump shot by Dixon kicked off a 20-6 Roberts Wesleyan response highlighted by two three-pointers by Stone. RWC took a 68-60 lead with 5:38 remaining courtesy of the second of those Stone treys.

Back came UDC though, as Terry scored five points during a 10-4 Firebirds mini-surge, and the Firebirds cut the lead to two, 72-70 with 1:29 remaining. UDC had a chance to tie or take the lead following a missed jump shot by Jamaal Carter, but Brannon's layup was swatted away by RWC's Medeiros. Carter then converted a layup at the other end to extend the Redhawk lead to four, 74-70 with exactly one minute on the clock.

Fifteen seconds later, UDC failed to take advantage of another opportunity as Terry converted only one of three free-throw attempts after a shooting foul by RWC on a three-point FG attempt, and the Firebirds only managed to pull within three, 74-71.

Later, Dixon missed the front end of a one-and-one with 33 seconds, but on the ensuing UDC possession, the Firebirds failed to score on a possession that included three chances to score. First, the Firebirds had another layup blocked by Medeiros, and then they proceeded to miss a jump shot and a layup, respectively. Carter made 1-of-2 at the line with one second remaining to ice the game, as Roberts Wesleyan went on to win, 75-71.

UDC will now break for the winter holidays. The Firebirds will return to action on Saturday, January 3rd as they host ECC foe Daemen. Tip-off is at 1 p.m.

Click here for yesterday's box score.