BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Leading throughout the entirety of the first half as well as the opening minutes of the second, the University of the Sciences men's basketball team answered its lone deficit in resounding fashion to defeat Concordia 62-55 for its first Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) win of the season on Saturday.
Leading by as many as 12 in the opening minutes and by nine, 41-32, after a Sean Simon 3-pointer just 1:35 into the second half, USciences would find itself trailing 41-45 with 14 minutes remaining after 13 straight Concordia points.
That would be the only time University of the Sciences would trail though as they responded with six unanswered and after a Concordia basket momentarily evened the score at 47, a JJ Melchior 3-pointer with 10:54 remaining gave the Devils the lead for good.
A Simon layup 1:43 later was the next basket, capping a 12-2 stretch, and the two teams would go on to trade points until a Connor Murphy jumper reestablished a seven-point advantage, 60-43, with 5:53 to play.
The advantage remained two possessions until two Concordia free throws cut the deficit to just two, 67-65, with just 1:38 left, but Murphy answered with a bucket on the ensuing possession and the USciences defense would close out the contest with three consecutive stops.
Murphy was second on the team with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds while matching fellow freshman Javon Gordon with two blocks, as USciences' seven as a team were tied for its most since the beginning of last season.
The University of the Sciences defense was the story, holding Concordia to just 30.3 percent shooting (23-of-76), including 14.7 percent from 3-point range (5-of-34).
The Devils also shot a respectable 48.3 percent (28-of-58), with Simon leading the way with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-4 free throws.
Melchior and Jordan White each added 10 points, with Melchior setting a new season-high in 19 minutes off the bench.
Notably, Tom Gregorits set new career-bests with three rebounds and two assists.
University of the Sciences opened the game on a 14-2 run over the opening 5:59, beginning with back-to-back Simon 3-pointers over the first 1:15.
After back-to-back Murphy baskets, a Starr 3-pointer capped the opening surge and although Concordia got as close as one, 27-28, four minutes ahead of the break, USciences would take a 36-30 advantage into the locker room.
University of the Sciences returns home for the first time in two and a half weeks to host cross-city rival Jefferson this Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m.