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February 12, 2009

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CHC men resist Devils’ advances

Several times during last Thursday night’s Central Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball game, host Chestnut Hill College appeared to be firmly in control, only to have the visiting Devils of USP (University of the Sciences in Philadelphia) contrive to climb back into contention.

Twice during the first half the Griffins led by 13 points, then the visitors pulled back within five by halftime and later drew even. CHC forged ahead again, leading by 10 points with less than five minutes to go, but USP rallied once more, and it wasn’t until the Devils missed a three-point shot at the buzzer that Chestnut Hill was certain it had clinched a victory, winning 67-65.

Avenging a two-point loss they had suffered just nine days earlier down at USP (the former Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science, located in West Philly), the Griffins raised their record to 4-6 in conference play and 5-16 overall.

The Devils, whose roster includes former Germantown Friends School guard Omari Phillip (the sophomore suited up but did not play in Thursday’s game), fell to 5-5 in the CACC and 7-13 overall.

Chestnut Hill’s youth movement was alive and well as freshman guard Ryan Cook collected 16 points, six assists and five rebounds, and a fellow rookie, forward Dan Comas, catalogued 13 points, three rebounds and three blocked shots. Senior forward David Goode also rang up 13 points, and sophomore guard Brandon William scored all of his seven points during the dicey second half.

Doing the bulk of their scoring in the opening period, Comas (11 points) and Cook (10) led the Griffins out to leads of 22-9 and 32-19. CHC shot nearly 73 percent from the floor during the first 20 minutes, but the Devils earned extra opportunities on offense through superior rebounding.

The Griffins were again ahead by 13 points (38-25) when a three-pointer by Mark Concannon (11 points, five rebounds) touched off a late 8-0 run for the visitors. The burst of offense ended with a breakaway lay-up by at the buzzer by Jarrod Frazier (12 points, seven rebounds), setting the score at 38-33 for the interlude.

A few minutes into the second round, USP’s Tramar Beaman (nine points, three rebounds) hit a transition lay-up and then canned a pair of free throws to pull the Devils even at 41-41. It was almost as if the Griffins had to lose their lead entirely in order to restart their offensive engine. Williams, a reserve guard out of Abington Friends sparked the hosts with a trey from the top of the key, then CHC got its transition game rolling as two lay-ups apiece by Cook and Goode pushed the Griffins ahead, 52-41.

After a time-out by USP, the three-ball came to the rescue for the Devils, who reduced their deficit over the next few minutes with triples from Shane Connor (six points), Beaman, and Concannon.

A “three” by CHC’s Goode got the home team back to a double-digit lead (63-53) with 4:28 remaining, but as USP got into the foul bonus, Adewale Adefemi knocked down five of six free throws and added a transition lay-up to power a 7-2 rally for the Devils, making it 65-60.

A feed from Whaley set up a righteous slam by Good, tacking Chestnut Hill’s final total of 67 points on the board with 2:25 to go. At the two-minute mark Frazier scored off of a rebound and with 1:05 on the clock Connor hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to bring the Devils within two, 67-65.

CHC never got into the foul bonus; in the final minute USP committed its sixth team foul, and the Griffins went into their set offense with an eight second differential between the shot clock and game clock. Eventually, the possession ended with an off-target toss by Goode from the outside, but the clock was down to 4.4 seconds before USP’s Concannon could control the rebound and call time-out. The Devils inbounded the ball to Frazier, who dribbled over half-court and passed to Connor, but he missed a three-point attempt from the left corner as the buzzer sounded.

 

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