PHILADELPHIA – Freshman forward Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) turned in a school and conference-record 12-of-12 shooting performance to pour in a game-high 24 points and help the Philadelphia University men's basketball team defeat Post, 68-62, in the opening round of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championship Tournament Saturday afternoon in the Gallagher Center.
Philadelphia improves its record to 18-9 and will take on Dominican (N.Y.) in the semifinal round of the tournament on Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m. at the University of the Sciences. During the regular season, the Rams defeated the Chargers 98-95 in triple overtime on Feb. 14 in the Gallagher Center.
Derek Johnson (Conshohocken, Pa./Atlantic Christian) had a strong game as he posted 19 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, and nine rebounds, both career-highs. Senior guard Jim Connolly (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton Area) was 9-of-11 at the free throw line on his was to a 15-point afternoon.
Post (15-11) got a team-high 13 points from Jerry Cummings.
Facing an early 6-2 deficit, an Alexis lay-up started a 9-3 run, capped by a Johnson three-pointer at the 15:17 mark, to grab an 11-9 lead. Connolly extended the lead to 20-14 after 1-for-2 trip at the free throw line.
Sarunas Jackson brought the Eagles back with five points during a Post 10-3 spurt to give the visitors a 24-23 lead with 9:11 left in the half.
Alexis and Johnson combined to score 10 points during a 14-2 surge during the final 6:41 and give the Rams, who shot 70.0 percent (14-of-20) in the first half, a 42-33 lead at the break.
Johnson and Alexis hit back-to-back baskets to quickly widen the gap to 12 (48-36) 1:49 into the second half.
After Zach Krischer connected from three-point range to pull Post within 52-49, Connolly answered with a big trey of his own to start a string of seven straight Philadelphia points and help the Rams regain a 10-point lead (59-49) with 8:57 left.
The Rams never allowed the Eagles to get closer than five points (65-60) down the stretch.
Philadelphia ended up hitting 55.8 percent (24-of-43) of its shots for its third-best shooting percent of the season. Post shot at a 34.8 percent (23-of-66) clip. The Rams outrebounded the Eagles, 39-26.