Three-point barrage propels men's basketball to southern division championship

Three-point barrage propels men's basketball to southern division championship

PHILADELPHIA – For the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Philadelphia University men's basketball team claimed the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Southern Division title after a tremendous second-half shooting performance led the Rams to an 81-61 victory over Wilmington (Del.) University in the regular season finale Tuesday night.

Philadelphia ends the regular season with an overall record of 20-8 and a season-best six-game winning streak. It is the 34th time in Herb Magee's 50-year career that the Rams have reached 20 wins in a season. The Rams will welcome Post University to the Gallagher Center for the opening round of the conference tournament on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

Josh Bradanese (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial)—the CACC co-player rookie of the week—has continued his strong play as of late with a career-high 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 5-of-8 from three, in the win. Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) knocked down four 3-pointers on his way to a season-best 23 points.

Kaison Randolph (Trenton, N.J./Pennington Prep) added 19 points—thanks to a perfect 5-for-5 night from behind the arc—10 rebounds, and six assists.

After shooting just 2-of-10 as a team from 3-point range in the opening half, Philadelphia drained 13 of its 17 3-point attempts during the second half to finish the night shooting 55.6 percent (15-of-27) from deep. The 15 3-pointers are tied for the most this season. Philadelphia made 15 threes in a win over USciences on Dec. 1, 2016.

In addition to the great 3-point shooting, Philadelphia also had strong ball movement that resulted in a season-best 20 assists.

The Rams trailed 33-30 after Omari Dill-Pettiford started the second-half scoring with a jumper one minute into the half. The Rams would put on a shooting clinic over an eight-minute stretch, making 12 of their 15 attempts to go on a 31-10 surge and take a 61-43 advantage. Philadelphia connected on all seven of its 3-point attempts during the run.

Randolph led the way with 11 of his 14 second-half points during the run, while Gibbs and Bradanese contributed nine points. Randolph and Bradanese each hit three 3-pointers.

Gibbs and Bradanese hit back-to-back 3-pointers 40 seconds apart to push the Philadelphia lead to 21 points (72-51) with 5:57 left. The gap reached a game-high 22 points when Randolph connected on his final triple of the night at the 1:19 mark to the make the score 81-59.

In the first half, Philadelphia went on a 7-1 run to open up a half-high seven-point lead (30-23) with 4:19 still to play. Wilmington came back with the final eight points of the half to take a one-point advantage to the locker room.

Tyaire Ponzo-Meek recorded 19 points and four rebounds to lead the Wildcats (19-9, 14-5 CACC). Nick Richards contributed 16 points.