PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia University men's basketball team scored the final nine points of the game over the final 1:14 to come from behind and knock off the University of the Sciences 59-54 in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) battle Saturday afternoon in the Gallagher Center.
Philadelphia improves to 12-5 overall and 6-2 in the CACC. The Rams have won their last five home games. USciences falls to 9-7 overall and 5-4 in conference play.
The Rams faced a 54-50 deficit with 1:14 to play after the Devils' Dylan Kerwin, who scored a career-high 17 points, knocked down a 16-footer and forced head coach Herb Magee to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, sophomore guard Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) buried an open look at a 3-pointer with a minute to go to close the gap to just a point (54-53).
After forcing a miss on USciences' next possession, sophomore forward Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer)—who finished up with 20 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks—drained a lay-up with 40.1 seconds left to put the Rams in front 55-54.
With 15 seconds left, sophomore forward Derek Johnson (Conshohocken, Pa./Atlantic Christian) came away with a steal and quickly passed the ball off the Gibbs, who was then immediately fouled. Gibbs, who had nine points, hit two free throws to extend the lead to 57-56. Junior guard Nick Schlitzer (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville) iced the game with two good free throws, for the last of his 13 points, with two seconds to play.
Kerwin scored seven points in the opening 4:08 to help the Devils jump out to a 10-4 lead. Over the next 10:20, the Rams turned up the defense and outscored the Devils 19-6 to move ahead 23-16. Philadelphia held USciences to 2-of-12 during that span. Johnson, who ended up with 10 points, bookended the charge with a pair of made 3-pointers.
The lead grew to nine (29-20) on an Alexis lay-up at the 2:43 mark. The Devils scored the final seven points of the half to make it a 29-27 game at the break.
The second half got off to a slow start as USciences' Patrick Connaghan scored the only point, on a 1-for-2 at the free throw line, during the first 4:28 of the second half.
After swapping the lead twice, Garrett Kerr made a basket with 12 minutes left to start a 7-0 run and put the Devils up 41-35. Philadelphia fought back to score the next 10 points over a 3:56 stretch to retake a three-point lead (44-41).
The teams traded the lead five more times of a span of 2:22, but would ended up tied at 50 on a lay-up by senior guard Nick Christian (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) with 3:15 remaining.
Kerr finished with 15 points and six rebounds for the Devils.
Philadelphia shot 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the field, while USciences hit 40.7 percent (22-of-54) of its shots. The Rams owned a 31-30 rebounding advantage.
Philadelphia will make its first-ever trip to Lakewood, N.J. to take on Georgian Court in a CACC contest on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m.