PHILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences men's basketball team's bench helped the Devils jump out to an 18-point first half lead, but USciences would ultimately have to overcome a late second half deficit to overcome Southern Connecticut State for the second time in nine days on Tuesday night at Bobby Morgan Arena.
Tied at nine six and a half minutes into the action, Jordan White hit a 3-pointer that began 16-3 run in which 13 of the points were scored by the bench. Devan Rodman and Michael Fox both scored in the stretch, and Brandon Hathaway nailed a triple to cap off 11 unanswered for a 25-12 advantage with 5:17 showing.
That was part of a stretch in which University of the Sciences held Southern Connecticut State without a field goal for 10:44.
After two Owls free throws followed Hathaway's trifecta, seven straight points gave the Devils a game-high 32-14 advantage with 3:45 left in the half.
Southern Connecticut did well to get back in it from there though, closing the half by doubling their output from the first 14:53 in the final 3:07 with 14 points to close the deficit to 28-36 heading into the locker room.
The Owls then continued that momentum in the second half, coming all the way back to tie it at 48 with 12:01 to play. The game was played within one possession for the next eight and a half minutes, with SCSU taking its first second half lead just under two minutes later.
Still trailing 54-52 with under six minutes to go, Tanner Kerr hit two free throws to tie the score, and the two teams would trade five points each.
Crawford was then fouled on another defensive rebound, and he would go on to make his two foul shots for a six-point cushion, 65-59, with just 1:59 remaining.
After a 3-pointer, Southern Connecticut State had a chance to tie it after a missed layup, but the Owls missed, and USciences would go on to make two free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
In a game where both teams shot under 37 percent, the foul line proved to be the difference as the Devils made 25-of-32 (78.1 percent) compared to SCSU's 16-of-23 (69.6).
Crawford made all six of his attempts en route to a team-high 12 points.
Kerr made 7-of-10 for 11 points, and the senior added a career-high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Starr made 8-of-10 free throws as part of his 10 points.
Hathaway, White and Beni Toure each scored six points off the bench, with Rodman and Fox (career-best) each adding five as the USciences bench outscored Southern Connecticut 30-4.
Notably, Rodman added a career-high four rebounds as well as three assists.
University of the Sciences tips off at the IUP Thanksgiving Invitational this Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. against the host, No. 3 Indiana (Pa.).