PHILADELPHIA – Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inductee Herb Magee opened his 50th season as the head coach of the Philadelphia University men's basketball team with his Rams fighting off the University of the District of Columbia for an 83-78 victory Saturday afternoon in the Gallagher Center.
The Rams (1-0) had four players in double figures, led by a 25-point performance from Kaison Randolph (Trenton, N.J./Pennington Prep). Randolph shot 6-of-13 from the floor and 11-of-12 at the free throw line.
Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) contributed 15 points and four rebounds. Kylan Guerra (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) and Jordan DeCicco (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) scored 13 points each. DeCicco also dished out a game- and career-high eight assists.
Philadelphia took control of a game that featured 10 ties and 19 lead changes, going on a late 15-6 run that put the Rams ahead 81-74 with 40 seconds left. The Rams, led by a 6-for-6 performance by Randolph, were a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe during the surge.
The Firebirds made it a one-possession game (81-78) on a Jayone Troutman dunk with 21 seconds to go, but Randolph sealed the contest by hitting two free throws on the Rams' next trip down the floor.
District of Columbia owned a 23-19 lead, its largest advantage of the day, at the 11:38 mark of the opening half when Joseph Nickerson knocked down one of his two 3-pointers. Randolph scored the game's next five points to put Philadelphia back in front 24-23.
With the Firebirds leading 35-33 after a Kasim Chandler free throw, the Rams rattled off nine straight points to lay claim to a seven-point lead (42-35) on a DeCicco 3-pointer.
Chandler shot 10-of-18 from the field as he led the Firebirds with 24 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. Reggie Sidbury and Nickerson both added 17 points.
District of Columbia shot 52.5 percent (31-of-59) overall and 39.1 percent (9-of-23) from three, while Philadelphia connected on 51.9 percent (28-of-54) of its shots and 45.5 percent (10-of-22) of its 3-pointers.
The Rams were 17-of-21 from the free throw line and the Firebirds made 7 of their 11 attempts.
Philadelphia returns to action on Sunday, Nov. 13 against Franklin Pierce at 1 p.m. in the Gallagher Center.