SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Thomas Jefferson University men's basketball team (2-0) made a strong start stand up in an 84-76 victory over host American International (1-1) on Sunday afternoon.
The win increased head coach Herb Magee's career total to 1,098. Magee is seeking to become just the second college basketball coach to reach 1,100 career victories.
After conceding the first bucket of the game, the Rams tallied 11 straight points to take over. Senior DeVaughn Mallory scored six points to lead the run followed by senior Josh Bradanese with three. The Yellow Jackets hit a jumper at the 11:26 mark to cut the deficit to five (19-14). Jefferson followed with a 12-2 stretch to increase their advantage to 15 (31-16) with 6:07 on the clock. The teams went back-and-forth for the rest of the opening half with the Rams holding a 43-31 lead at the break.
In the second, two Mallory free throws made the score 53-44. AIC then hit back-to-back threes to get within three with 14:53 to play. A jumper at 11:14 made it a two-point game (59-57) before the Yellow Jackets tied the score at 61 (9:42).
The teams then traded the lead for several minutes until it was deadlocked at 71 with 3:47 to go. Freshman Darius Kinnel put Jefferson ahead with a jump shot (2:54) before AIC sank a free throw (2:33). Kinnel added a layup and freshman Ja'Zere Noel drilled a jumper to up the cushion to five (77-72) with 1:43 remaining. The Rams' defense tightened down the stretch as the Yellow Jackets missed three straight shots and committed a turnover. Jefferson made seven free throws to ice the win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Bradanese ended with a double-double, scoring 21 points, on 9-of-15 shooting, and grabbing 11 rebounds.
- Mallory poured in 26 points and had nine boards. He was 11-for-17 from the field.
- Senior Kylan Guerra tallied 12 points and seven assists.
- Noel scored 11 points off the bench on 5-of-7 shooting.
- Kinnel shot 4-for-5 and finished with 10 points.
AS A TEAM
- The Rams shot a blistering 59.3% (32-of-54) from the floor, 27.3% (3-of-11) from beyond the arc and 77.3% (17-of-22) from the charity stripe.
- Jefferson had 42 of their points come from the paint.
- The Rams are 2-0 for the fifth consecutive season.
- Jefferson's 169 points over their first two contests are the most since the Rams scored 173 to start the 1999-2000 campaign.
- It was the Rams' second straight win over American International.
Jefferson visits Queens (N.Y.) on Saturday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m.