SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Playing in its first game in 11 days, the Philadelphia University men's basketball team suffered a tough 64-61 non-conference loss at the hands of American International College Friday afternoon in Butova Gymnasium.
Eric Long (Bronx, N.Y./Marianapolis Prep) turned in a strong performance for the Rams (8-5) as he racked up 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and a season-high 15 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
Malcolm Gilbert (Smyrna, Del./Academy of the New Church) snapped a 60-all tie with a 1-for-2 trip to the free throw line to put the Rams up one with 3:56 left in the contest. After a long scoreless drought, the Yellow Jackets' Tahlib Swan hit a layup with the shot clock set to expire to put AIC (7-7) ahead 62-61 with 29 seconds remaining. It was AIC's first points in nearly four minutes.
With the gap at 64-61 after Jayvon Pitts-Young made two free throws, Philadelphia sprinted the ball into the frontcourt and called a timeout with four seconds to play. On the Rams' final possession, Josh Bradanese (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial)—who entered the game for the first time during the timeout—fired up a straightaway 3-pointer that bounced off the left side of the rim as time ran out.
In the opening half, Philadelphia erased a 10-point deficit with a 20-5 run, half of the points coming from Long, to climb in front 30-22. Gibbs added seven points, including back-to-back 3-pointers to finish the surge, while Randolph had the other three points.
Philadelphia increased its lead to a game-high 11 points at the 16:10 mark of the second half when Long drained a layup to make the score 48-37. The Yellow Jackets ran off 18 of the next 24 points to reclaim a one-point lead (55-54).
Juwan Moody was the Yellow Jackets' leading scorer with 24 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. Bruce Spruell added 13 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.
Philadelphia begins a string of five straight Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference contests on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at Bloomfield College at 7:30 p.m.