Cold-Shooting Firebirds Suffer Lopsided Loss at Molloy

Senior point guard Kasim Chandler had 17 points.
Senior point guard Kasim Chandler had 17 points.

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY – The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team was defeated, 81-59 by East Coast Conference foe Molloy College on Wednesday night at Quealy Gymnasium.

The Firebirds fell to 13-12 overall and 10-7 in league play with the loss, while the Lions, who won their 3rd straight game, improved to 16-10 overall and 12-5 in the ECC. Molloy also evened the season series with UDC, avenging a 90-79 loss to the Firebirds in the nation's capital back on January 11th.

Senior guard Joseph Nickerson led the way for UDC with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds – both team-highs. The nation's leader in steals per-game entering tonight also had two thefts.

Nickerson's backcourt mates, senior point guard Kasim Chandler and junior guard Khalil Jackson, added 17 and 10 points, respectively.

Molloy, which out-shot UDC 55-percent (35-of-64) to 28-percent (18-of-64) from the field, put three scorers in double-figures, including a game-high 23 points by the ECC's leading scorer, Jaylen Morris. Curtis Jenkins also packed the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds, and game-highs of five assists and five steals, and Charlie Marquardt posted a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Lions, who never trailed in this game, raced out to early leads of 7-2, 14-7, and 21-11, and they led by as many as 21 in the first half before ultimately taking a 50-33 advantage into the locker room.

UDC, which overcame a 10-point first half deficit to beat Molloy on its home floor last month, took just over two minutes to slice Molloy's 17-point lead down to nine as the Firebirds quickly scored the first eight points of the half. The Lions responded, however, with an 11-5 burst to push their lead back to 15, 46-31, with 13:30 left to play.

Molloy still led by 13 with 12:15 remaining when UDC mounted one last comeback attempt – a 6-0 run to cut the lead to seven, 65-58, with just under eight minutes to play. Unfortunately, the Firebirds went completely cold from that point on, going without a field goal for the final seven minutes of regulation as the Lions out-scored them 16-1 in that span. Molloy would go on to win by a 22-point margin – its largest of the night.

UDC, still assured an ECC Tournament berth as a lock to finish in the top-six in the conference, will play one final regular season game vs. the University of Bridgeport on Saturday, February 25th. This game will be important in determining tournament seeding in the conference. Also, the Firebirds will honor the seniors on the team with a Senior Day ceremony before the game.