Men's basketball holds off Caldwell for 62-61 victory

Men's basketball holds off Caldwell for 62-61 victory

CALDWELL, N.J. – Junior guard Nick Schlitzer (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville) poured in a game-high 26 points as the Philadelphia University men's basketball team held off host Caldwell 62-61 in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) game on Saturday afternoon in the Newman Center.

Philadelphia extended its winning streak to five as it improves to 16-5 overall and 10-2 in the CACC. Caldwell dips to 12-7 overall and 8-4 in conference play.

Schlitzer shot 8-of-13 from the field, 5-of-6 from 3-point land, to close within four points from scoring 1,000 in his career. He also grabbed six rebounds in the win.

Sophomore guard Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) had 10 points and four assists. Sophomore forward Derek Johnson (Conshohocken, Pa./Atlantic Christian) grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in 29 minutes of action.

Terik Bridgeman paced Caldwell with 18 points and five rebounds. Kevin Walker scored 12 points, while Michael Balkovic added 11 points.

The Rams shot 44.7 percent (21-of-47) from the field, 45.0 percent (9-of-20) from 3-point range, in the victory. Caldwell connected at a 34.0 percent (18-of-53) percent clip overall, 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from distance. Philadelphia outrebounded Caldwell 33-31.

Philadelphia trailed 10-9 until hitting three straight 3-pointers, two from Schlitzer and one from Johnson, on three consecutive trips down the floor to move ahead 18-9 with 11:48 left in the first half. After senior guard Nick Christian (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) hit two free throws to put the Rams up 24-15, the Cougars would go on an 11-2 run—capped by a Bridgeman layup at the 3:02 mark—to tie the score at 26.

The Rams responded with seven straight points over a 2:36 stretch to jump out to a 33-26 advantage.

With 14:13 left in the contest, Balkovic stepped to the free throw line and drained two free throws to trim the Philadelphia lead to 41-40. Gibbs nailed a 3-pointer at the 13:23 mark to finish an 8-0 run to push the Rams' advantage back up to nine (49-40).

Caldwell would score eight straight points, including six straight successful free throws, to pull within a single point (60-59) with 1:22 left.

Leading 62-61 with 23 seconds left, Gibbs missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and gave the ball back to Caldwell. The Cougars had three attempts at the game-winning basket on their final position, but did not get one to fall and allowed the Rams to get the win.

Philadelphia returns home to face Wilmington (Del.) in a CACC contest on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.