ORANGEBURG, N.Y. – The Philadelphia University men's basketball team will play for its third straight Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) championship after defeating Bloomfield College 77-67 in the semifinal round of the CACC Tournament Friday night in Dominican College's Hennessy Center.
Philadelphia (23-7)—seventh in the NCAA Division II East Region Rankings—will face Holy Family—a 70-62 winner over the University of the Sciences in the other semifinal—for the conference championship on Saturday, March 5 at 7 p.m. at Dominican College.
The teams split their season series with each team picking up a win on its' home floor. Holy Family defeated Philadelphia in the Campus Center 61-54 on Dec. 10. The Rams came back on Feb. 20 and knocked off the Tigers in the Gallagher Center 76-66.
Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer), TJ Huggins (Alexandria, Va./TC Williams), and Brendan Kilpatrick (Norristown, Pa./Malvern Prep) each scored 18 points in Friday's victory. Alexis grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, while Huggins dished out six assists.
Bloomfield (15-13) had an early 6-3 lead as Nick Davidson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 2:22. The lead, Bloomfield's largest of the game, was short-lived as Alexis hit a layup on Philadelphia's next possession and sparked a 10-2 surge that put the Rams in front 13-8. Kilpatrick hit a pair of 3-pointers to lead the run.
With the lead sitting at three (17-14), the Rams drained six of their next 10 shots to go on a 13-4 run to widen the gap to 30-18 on an Alexis layup at the 5:36 mark. The defensive effort played a big role in getting the Rams a double-digit lead as they forced the Bears to shoot 1-of-9.
Philadelphia would take a 42-29 lead to the locker room after Kilpatrick capped off a 13-point half by making a jumper with 26 seconds before the half.
Bloomfield used an 11-4 run over the first 5:35 of the second half to trim Philadelphia's cushion to 46-40. Rakwan Kelly sunk two free throws with 9:46 left in the game to close the Bears within 50-46.
Huggins made a layup one minute later that would be the start of a rally-killing 11-4 surge that put the Philadelphia lead back in double figures (61-50). The margin didn't last for long as the Bears made one last push, scoring eight straight points to make the score 61-58 on a Claude Blue 3-pointer at the 5:31 mark.
With Philadelphia's lead at 64-61, the Rams outscored the Bears 8-4 over a 1:22 stretch to reclaim a seven-point lead (72-65) on a Mike Louden (Glen Mills, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) three-point play with 2:37 left. The defense took it from there, not allowing Bloomfield to make any of its final five shot attempts.
Philadelphia shot 50.0 percent (28-of-56) from the floor and held Bloomfield—the second-best shooting team in the conference—to 42.4 percent (25-of-59).
The Bears had four players in double figures, led by Davidson's 20 points. Kelly added 11 points and 10 rebounds.