CALDWELL, N.J. – The Philadelphia University men's basketball team's run of Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament final appearances ended at three as the Rams were upended by Dominican (N.Y.) College, 72-64, in a semifinal round contest Saturday afternoon in Caldwell University's Newman Center.
Philadelphia—who is now 21-9 overall after having its seven-game winning streak snapped—entered the weekend ranked seventh in the final set of NCAA Division II East Region Rankings before Selection Sunday. The Rams will hope to receive one of the five available at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA will set the tournament field on Sunday, March 5 at 10:30 p.m. on ncaa.com.
CACC Rookie of the Year Kylan Guerra (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepanic) was a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line, 9-for-9 in the second half, on his way to a team-high 20 points for the Rams. He also grabbed five rebounds.
All-CACC first team selection Kaison Randolph (Trenton, N.J./Pennington Prep) knocked down four 3-pointers as a part of a 16-point afternoon. Jordan DeCicco (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston)—an all-conference third team pick—returned to the lineup after a seven-game absence and racked up 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Philadelphia—who never led in the contest—struggled out of the gate, falling behind 10-0 in the opening 4:11 of the game. Randolph and Josh Bradanese (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) would find their touch from behind the arc as they both hit two 3-pointers during a 12-6 run that pull the Rams within 16-12.
With Dominican's lead back up to nine, Philadelphia rattled off five straight points—capped by a pair of DeCicco free throws with 3:03 left in the half—to make the score 31-27. The Chargers scored the final six points of the first half and go to the locker room leading 37-27.
Dominican's momentum carried over into the second half as the Chargers knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to open the half and extend the gap to a game-high 16 points (43-27). Philadelphia trimmed the margin to 48-40 on two Guerra free throws with 8:45 left, but Dominican came right back with a 9-2 run to reclaim a 15-point cushion (57-42).
The Rams would get as close as seven the rest of the way when Guerra made two free throws at the 1:58 mark to make the score 65-58 and on a DeCicco layup with 14 seconds remaining that made it a 71-64 game.
Gerrel lrvin paced Dominican—who will face Bloomfield for the CACC title—with 28 points and 13 rebounds, both game highs. Daniel Grant added 20 points.
Philadelphia shot 38.2 percent (21-of-55) from the field, 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from behind the arc. Dominican connected on 46.7 percent (28-of-60) of its shots. The Chargers owned a 45-31 rebounding average, 14-4 on the offensive end.