By: Gladstone Harris, Sports Information Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Bloomfield College and Philadelphia University fans each had reason to cheer on Saturday, January 30th, during the basketball doubleheader which was broadcast live to the nation and world-wide on ESPN3.
In a matchup of undefeated teams in conference play, the Bloomfield women staged a furious rally to pull off a come-from-behind 63-58 win over the Rams in the day's first contest. The PhilaU men staved off a late rally by their counterparts in a thrilling 79-75 triumph at the Gallagher Center in Philadelphia in the afternoon's second affair.
Bloomfield's women's team improved to 17-5 overall and 13-0 in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) North Division, and notched the inside track to the No. 1 overall seed in the CACC Tournament, which will begin in a few weeks from now in late February. PhilaU dipped to 16-6 and 12-1 in league play.
On the men's side, the Rams improved to 18-4 and 11-2 in conference play, while Bloomfield fell to 9-11 overall and 8-5 in the CACC.
In the women's game, Bloomfield used a 20-8 surge over the game's final 5:30 to turn a seven-point deficit into a five-point victory. The Bears trailed 50-43 with just under 6:00 remaining, but Deja McKenzie tallied a three-point play to kick-start a 9-0 surge for the Bears. McKenzie had five points during the rally and Ariel Wilson capped the opening part of Bloomfield's closing stretch with a deep threeball to put the Bears up by two (52-50) with 3:46 left.
After Philadelphia knotted it at 52-all on its next possession, Wilson rained in another triple at the other end of the court and Tianna Smith laid in a bucket just moments later to stake Bloomfield to a 57-52 lead.
The Bears continued to hold their late lead, but Jessica Kaminski brought the Rams to within a possession at 61-58 with :08 left. However, Bloomfield sealed it with a pair of free throws to pull off the huge win on national TV.
McKenzie had 13 off the bench for the Bears, while Wilson poured in a team-high 18 points. Smith added 17. Bloomfield shot 42 percent from the field, including a strong 80-percent from the free throw line (12-of-15).
Bria Young led four Ram double-figure scorers with 16 points, while Kaminski chipped in 13 and five assists.
The men's game had a nearly identical storyline, as PhilaU raced out to a large lead in the second half, only to see Bloomfield chip away to make things interesting late. However, the Rams were able to get some clutch baskets from T.J. Huggins down the stretch, along with some critical free throws to hold Bloomfield at bay and hang on for the win.
Huggins was nothing short of spectacular with a double-double of 29 points and 11 rebounds. He was 11-of-17 from the field. Peter Alexis, who hit a couple of big free throws late, finished with 20 points and nine boards.
Philadelphia led by as many as 16 points on multiple occasions in the second half, including at 56-40 with 13:18 left on a three-point play from Huggins. Huggins stemmed a quick rally from Bloomfield with a three-pointer moments later to make it 59-44.
Trailing 61-49, the Bears began to really start their rally and did so by netting eight-consecutive points, including the last five from Juan Brown to make it a one possession game at 61-58 with 8:18 to go.
Bloomfield continued to get it to within two points over the next few minutes, but each time Huggins responded with back-to-back jumpers to seal the win for Philadelphia.
Nick Davidson and Safee Abdus-Sabur paced Bloomfield with 18 points apiece, while Claude Blue and Brown chipped in with 17 and 11 points, respectively.
Philadelphia shot 52 percent from the field (29-of-56), while Bloomfield wasn't far off at 47 percent (27-of-58).
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.
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