December 19, 2013

MEN'S BASKETBALL EDGED BY SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE, 70-69, ON FINAL SECOND FREE THROW

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Men's Basketball vs. S.C.S.U. 12/19/13



Syracuse, N.Y. – Tylon Smith made a free throw with 1.4 seconds left to give Southern Connecticut State University a 70-69 win over the Le Moyne College men's basketball team in Northeast-10 Conference action on Thursday night at Ted Grant Court.

Senior guard Nate Champion (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) led the Dolphins in the loss with 23 points, 14 of which came in the second half, eight rebounds and five assists. Graduate student center Jim Janson (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville) registered 16 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Junior forward Ryan Romich (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable/Vermont Academy) tallied 10 first-half points, while sophomore forward Connor Mahoney (Hanover, Mass./BC High/Brooks School) grabbed a career high-tying 12 rebounds, scored eight points and dished out four assists.

Deshawn Murphy scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Owls, 25 of which came in the second half, while adding six rebounds. Michael Mallory came off the bench to record a career-best 18 points (12 in the first half) and grab a career high-tying six rebounds. Smith finished the game with 11 points (nine in the second half), a team-high eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Greg Langston, who entered the game as the second-leading scorer in the conference at 22.75 points per game, was held to seven points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field and did not get to the foul line once after entering the game with the ninth-most free throw attempts in the conference (6.25 per game).

After the teams split the first eight points of the game, the Dolphins ran off seven straight points over a span of 1:37 to take control of the contest. Janson started the run with five points on a lay-up and a conventional three-point play. Junior guard Naté Gause (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Poughkeepsie/Quinnipiac), who was making his season debut, capped the spurt with a fast-break lay-up with 14:22 left.

Following a jumper in the paint by Mallory that snapped his team's scoring drought of 4:23, Janson and Romich each scored four points around another Mallory jumper to give the Dolphins a 19-8 lead.

The Owls countered with seven points in a row to pull within four points. Murphy made a jumper, Mallory nailed a three-pointer and then Houston converted a fast-break lay-up with 9:45 left.

The teams then went back and forth over the next 7:15 with Le Moyne's lead bouncing between four and nine points. Romich had four of Le Moyne's 12 points, while Mallory had five of Southern Connecticut's 10 points.

Champion closed out the half with the final seven points to give the Dolphins a 38-25 lead at halftime. He hit a three-pointer from the right wing and then made a pair of lay-ups.

After the teams traded points over the first 88 seconds of the second half, resulting in a 41-29 Le Moyne lead, the Owls rattled off 13 straight points to take their first lead of the game with 14:54 remaining. Murphy ignited the run with a three-pointer from the right wing in transition off a rebound, Langston followed with a three-pointer from the top of the key, Smith made a fast-break lay-up off a steal and then Murphy made another fast-break three-pointer to force a Le Moyne timeout. Off a Mallory steal, Smith converted a fast-break lay-up to put the Owls in front 42-41.

The teams then traded points over the next four minutes, resulting in a 52-52 tie. Champion had seven of Le Moyne's nine points in the stretch, while Murphy had five of Southern Connecticut's 10 points.

Southern Connecticut then scored seven points in a span of 1:19 to take its largest lead of the game with 9:24 remaining. Murphy put the Owls in front with a three-pointer, Smith made a pair of free throws and then Murphy converted two foul shots.

After Mallory hit a three-pointer with 6:02 left to put the Owls up 62-56, the Dolphins scored eight straight points over the next 3:44 to regain the lead. Champion started the run with a foul-line jumper, Mahoney followed with two free throws, Janson made two free throws to tie the score at 62 and then made another for a 63-62 advantage with 2:51 to play. Sophomore guard Qwadere Lovell (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon), who had eight points, five rebounds and five assists, then made a free throw with 2:18 left for a two-point edge.

Murphy answered back by making two free throws and a jump shot to reverse the two-point margin. Champion responded with a three-pointer from the right wing 18 seconds later to give the Dolphins their last lead of the game. Murphy answered with a three-pointer of his own 18 seconds later to put the Owls up with 1:06 left.

After Houston missed the front end of a "1-and-1" with 37 seconds left after stealing the ball, Champion drew Houston's fifth foul with 23 seconds remaining. He stepped to the foul line and knocked down both free throws to even the score at 69-apiece.

Out of a timeout, Langston missed a shot from the left side with four seconds left, but Smith grabbed the rebound and was fouled on his tip-in attempt with 1.4 seconds left. He made his first free throw to put Southern Connecticut up by a point. However, he missed the second attempt and Romich grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 1.2 seconds left.

Langston was able to intercept Le Moyne's half-court pass to seal the win for the Owls, which was their second in three meetings in Syracuse after losing eight straight games on Ted Grant Court.

Le Moyne (5-4, 3-2 NE-10, 5-3 East Region), which suffered its first home loss of the season, closes out the 2013 portion of its schedule on Sunday at Holy Family University at 3:00 p.m.