PHILADELPHIA - The Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) men's basketball team (12-6, 7-2 CACC) won a nail-biter in front of the Gallagher Center crowd on Monday evening, defeating Caldwell (8-10, 4-5 CACC), 63-60.
The win gave the Rams their seventh consecutive victory and put them in first place in the CACC. Jefferson leads second-place Goldey-Beacom (6-2) by a half-game.
There were nine ties and 15 lead changes in the game. Caldwell came out hot, scoring the first eight points of the contest. Jefferson fought back and tied the score at 15 at the 9:27 mark. The Rams took their first lead (19-17) on junior Kylan Guerra's free throws at 5:24. The teams stayed close for the rest of the half and were tied at 27 at the break.
Jefferson took the advantage early in the second but the Cougars kept it close. Down by five, Caldwell went on a 9-0 run to go ahead 47-43 with 8:28 to play. The teams traded the lead for the next five minutes until it was tied at 55 with 3:12 left. Guerra put the Rams in front with a free throw before the Cougars laid one in for a 57-56 lead.
Freshman Joey Atkins produced a big three-point play with an and-one bucket to put Jefferson on top, 59-57 (1:15). Caldwell had a three-point play of its own to regain the upper hand, 60-59 with 51 seconds remaining. Atkins drew a foul and made both shots at the line to make the score 61-60. With the Cougars attempting to hold for the last shot, Guerra swiped the ball, drew a foul and sank a pair of free throws for the final margin. Caldwell's last-chance three from the right corner was off the mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Junior DeVaughn Mallory came up just short in his bid for a sixth straight double-double, collecting 18 points and nine rebounds. He was 8-for-11 from the field.
- Guerra ended the game with 14 points, five boards, three assists and two steals. He is at 978 career points.
- Atkins and sophomore Alexander Gorton contributed with 10 points apiece.
AS A TEAM
- The Rams shot 42.9% (21-of-49) on field goals, 26.7% (4-of-15) from downtown and 81.0% (17-of-21) from the line.
- Jefferson held Caldwell to 36.9% shooting (24-of-65).
- It is Jefferson's first seven-game win streak since Feb. 4-25, 2017.
- The Rams shot over 80 percent from the charity stripe for the fourth time this year and they are 3-1 in those games.
- The victory was the 1,086th of head coach Herb Magee's career.
The Rams hit the road to take on Nyack on Saturday, January 26 at 3 p.m. Jefferson topped the Warriors, 89-68 at home in 2017-18.