University of the District of Columbia Men's Basketball Earns Hard-Fought Overtime Road Win at Dowling
OAKDALE, NY - Led by three scorers in double-figures, the University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team earned a hard-fought, 71-68 overtime victory over East Coast Conference foe Dowling on Saturday evening.
With the win, the Firebirds extended the longest win-streak in the East Region to 10 games while improving to 12-1 overall and 3-0 in the ECC. Dowling fell to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Brandon Herbert (Baltimore, MD - McDonough HS) led all scorers with 21 points, including four free-throws in the overtime session which helped UDC ultimately prevail. Diyaaldin Kelley (Philadelphia, PA - Mariana Bracetti HS) also had a huge day with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds and Nigel Munson (Washington, DC - DeMatha HS) registered 11 points and six rebounds. Dyrek Jones (Brooklyn, NY – Bedford Academy) also had a terrific all-around performance with seven points, 11 rebounds and a season-high seven blocked shots.
Michael Hill led three Lions scorers in double figures as he recorded a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Corwin Austin and Josh Malone also scored 12 apiece.
This was UDC's first overtime game since November 18, 2009, and the first overtime win of head coach Jeff Ruland's career as the Firebirds head coach. With this win, District of Columbia has already surpassed last year's win total of 11.
Dowling scored the first seven points of the game and the Lions roared out to a 16-6 lead over the first seven minutes of play. Consecutive three-point baskets by Herbert ignited a 17-4 Firebirds surge and UDC was out in front 23-20 after a layup by Kelley at the 5:50 mark. Later, Justin Alexander made consecutive layups in back-to-back possessions to put Dowling up 31-27, and then Herbert knocked down a three-pointer for the final points of the half to bring UDC within one, 31-30 at intermission.
The two teams traded baskets for a good portion of the second half and the host's still led by four, 51-47 with 8:36 remaining in regulation. The Firebirds then used an 11-3 run, highlighted by two Herbert long-range shots, to pull in front, 57-54 with 5:35 left. Dowling would take the lead back on a three-pointer by Leon Taylor, but Jones knocked down a big jumper at the 1:07 mark to tie the score at 61-all. Hill drove hard in the paint and drew a foul with 37 seconds remaining to put himself on the line. He made both to put Dowling up 64-62 with nine seconds showing on the clock. The Firebirds then quickly worked the ball up the floor, and Munson drove strong to the basket and forced a Dowling foul. He then sank both his free-throws to knot the score at 64. On the ensuing Lions possession, Austin tried to put up a shot twice and was denied both times by UDC's Jones in the waning seconds of regulation, as the game went to overtime.
District of Columbia would go on to outscore Dowling 7-4 in the overtime session thanks to four Herbert free-throws, and they would win the game by a final score of 71-68.
UDC's defense held Dowling to 28-percent shooting from the field, frustrating the Lions by forcing 11 turnovers and blocking 11 shots. The Firebirds shot a little better (30-percent), won the rebounding battle 64-60, and shot well at the free-throw line down the stretch (5-of-6 in OT) to overcome a slow start and win on the road.
The Firebirds play host to ECC foe NYIT on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m. Eli Pearlstein will bring you the action live courtesy of Stretch Internet.