Alvernia University (8-5, 3-2) held Arcadia University (7-6, 2-2) to 28 points in the second half to overcome a six-point halftime deficit in an 80-72 win on Jan. 4 in MAC Commonwealth men’s basketball action at Jack McCloskey Court.
The Knights shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half and held a 44-38 lead at the break.
“There it is,” said Alvernia head coach Mike Miller after the win. “Defense won that game. Overall I’m not worried about our offense cause I know it’s going to come. We’re a tough guard and we all can shoot, but it’s going to come down to defense.”
The offense clicked when it had to with the Crusaders hitting four straight 3s in a two-minute span that turned a two-point deficit into a 10-point lead with two minutes left to play, but the defense was equally as impressive.
The Knights went 0-for-3 from the floor during the decisive Alvernia run and the Crusaders were able to limit the opportunities with guards grabbing all three defensive boards.
Mike Miller, Jr. — who finished with a game-high 22 points — started the run with a 3 from the left elbow then an Alex Shippen rebound on the defensive end preceded another Miller 3 that was assisted by senior Marquis Marshall. Steve Pendleton — who finished with a team-best seven boards — grabbed the next Arcadia miss and George Williams followed with a long 3 near the end of the shot clock for a 71-64 lead, then Williams grabbed a carom on defense and capped the run with another 3 late in the shot clock for a 74-64 lead with 2:05 to play.
Williams — who finished with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting — was equally as quick as his coach to point to defense as the reason for the win.
“Coming out in the second half and playing defense,” said Williams when asked about the turning point. “That’s what we talked about in the locker room.”
Williams drew the main defensive assignment on Arcadia senior Ryan Kelley, the Knights’ leading scorer at 15.5 per game. Kelley reached his per game average by halftime with game-high 16 points at the break. He shot 5-for-5 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from the arc, with Williams leaving him to double. Kelley was just 2-for-3 in the second half to finish with 21 points after Miller’s halftime conversation with Williams.
Alvernia shot 52 percent from the floor in the second half, including 6-fo-12 from the arc, and limited the Knights to 35 percent in the final 20 minutes.
Arcadia had its largest lead of the night when Josh Scott scored a layup for a 23-16 lead with 12:38 left in the first half. Pendleton hit two 3s and Williams another as Alvernia ran off a 13-3 run to move ahead by three.
Ron Adams — who earned minutes in the first half following his defensive efforts in practice — scored on a layup for a 38-35 Alvernia lead, but the Crusaders went cold for the final 3:56 of the half while Arcadia ran off nine points for the 44-38 halftime lead.
Alvernia erased the deficit in the first three minutes of the second half and went ahead 53-48 on a monster putback dunk from Marshall off a missed Miller 3.
In a game of runs that featured 10 lead changes, Arcadia answered with eight straight points and held a 64-62 lead following a Kelley free throw before the Crusaders hit four straight 3s.
Marshall also reached double figures for Alvernia with 12 points. Kelley finished with a game-high 21 points. Evan Sloan added 16 for the Knights and Kyle Reilly had 10.
Alvernia turns right around for a non-conference game on Thursday, Jan. 5 against Penn College of Tech.
Arcadia University4428727-6, 2-2Alvernia University3842808-5, 3-2Game DetailsDate01/04/17Time8:10 PMAttendance491SiteReading, PARefereesT. Smith, R. Bretz, S. SerensitsArcadia University 72Arcadia University 72##PlayerGSFGM-FGA3FGM-3FGAFTM-FTAOFF-DEFTOTPFTPATOBLKSTLMIN4Kelley,Ryan*7-83-34-50-1122112023524Slone,Evan*6-140-04-43-2541610002331Reilly,Kyle*4-92-50-20-112103004333Scott,Josh*4-90-20-01-1011383411355Thompson,Brandon*3-101-60-00-331711013830Sanders,Jordan 2-31-20-20-112513011042Pierfy,Phil 2-41-10-00-001501011014Derr,Will 0-00-00-01-23100110820Anderson-Marrow,Emma 0-10-00-00-00200100313Rivera,Jason 0-10-10-01-0100000031Patel,Kishan 0-00-00-00-000010012TMTEAM 0-00-00-03-250000000 Totals-28-598-208-139-223118721113211200 Team Total % 47.5 %40.0 %61.5 % Team summary: FG3FGFT First Half 18-315-103-6 58.06 %50.00 %50.00 % Second Half 10-283-105-7 35.71 %30.00 %71.43 % Technical Fouls:nonePoints in the Paint:28Points off Turnovers:20Second Chance Points:6Fast Break Points:2Bench Points:10Scores Tied:3 time(s)Lead Changed:4 time(s)Largest Lead:7 1st-12:38Alvernia University 80Alvernia University 80##PlayerGSFGM-FGA3FGM-3FGAFTM-FTAOFF-DEFTOTPFTPATOBLKSTLMIN44Mike Miller*6-135-115-60-223224211404George Williams*7-114-71-10-443192303383Marquis Marshall*6-140-20-12-46312241132 Shippen,Alex*1-91-55-62-243831014011Reid Hoff*1-11-11-20-33041100211Steve Pendleton 3-62-31-22-571904011742Ron Adams 3-40-00-12-354610001121Anthony Hedgepeth 0-00-00-00-000000001TMTEAM 0-00-00-03-250001000 Totals-27-5813-2913-1911-25361780131627200 Team Total % 46.6 %44.8 %68.4 % Team summary: FG3FGFT First Half 14-337-173-4 42.42 %41.18 %75.00 % Second Half 13-256-1210-15 52.00 %50.00 %66.67 % Technical Fouls:nonePoints in the Paint:20Points off Turnovers:11Second Chance Points:13Fast Break Points:0Bench Points:15Scores Tied:1 time(s)Lead Changed:5 time(s)Largest Lead:10 2nd-02:05