PHILADELPHIA – After a sluggish first half, the Philadelphia University men's basketball team turned in a solid second half that propelled the Rams to a 69-54 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) over Chestnut Hill in Sorgenti Arena Saturday afternoon.
Philadelphia, the 25th ranked team in the National Association of Basketball Coaches poll, improves to 9-2 overall and 4-2 against the CACC. Chestnut Hill dips to 3-6 overall, 1-2 in conference play.
Despite shooting 50.0 percent in the opening 20 minutes, the Rams found themselves down 32-30 at the half. In the first 10 minutes, neither team was able to establish a clear advantage as they swapped the lead four times and were level on five occasions.
Then, with the Rams up 23-19, the Griffins got hot, shooting 4-for-6 from the field, during to go on an 11-0 run capped by an Edward McWade 3-pointer at the 5:26 mark to open up a 30-23 advantage.
Philadelphia bounced back to outscore Chestnut Hill 7-2 over the duration of the half to close the gap to 32-30 on a Brendan Kilpatrick (Norristown, Pa./Malvern Prep) with one second left on the clock. Kipatrick finished the first half with 13 points.
In the second half, Philadelphia turned up the defense and forced Chestnut Hill, who shot 44.8 percent in the first half, to connect on just 29.0 percent of its second-half attempts. Meanwhile, Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) and TJ Huggins (Alexandria, Va./TC Williams) both scored 11 points in the final 20 minutes for the Rams, who once again shot 50.0 percent.
Like in the first half, the squads traded the lead four times. With Chestnut Hill in front 38-37, Huggins knocked down a layup to spark a 14-4 run that would put Philadelphia in front 51-42. Huggins was responsible for seven of the 14 points.
The Griffins rallied, with the help of five Luke Dickson points, to record seven of the next nine points to close the margin to 53-49 on a pair of Demetrius Isaac free throws with 7:13 left to play.
Unfazed by the comeback attempt, Philadelphia used strong defense and five Alexis points during a 13-2 run that would put the Rams up 66-51 and seal the win. Chestnut Hill shot 1-of-7 during the run.
Alexis ended up with a game-high 21 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, and six rebounds. Huggins tied a season-high with 12 rebounds to go along with his 11 points. Kilpatrick ended the game with 15 points and six assists, while Kaison Randolph (Trenton, N.J./Pennington Prep) had 12 points and six boards.
Isaac was Chestnut Hill's leading scorer with 18 points.
Philadelphia heads to Assumption to play a pair of Northeast-10 teams next weekend, starting with the College of Saint Rose on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m.