WASHINGTON, DC – A clutch, three-pointer in the near corner by junior guard Khalil Jackson with eight-tenths of a second remaining in regulation sent the University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team to a wild, 70-67 victory over East Coast Conference foe University of Bridgeport in both teams' regular season finale Saturday afternoon at UDC Sports Complex.
Crisp, precise passing by the Firebirds around the perimeter created an open look for Jackson – who had missed his only other prior three-point attempt in the game – and he swished the game-winning shot which resulted in a deafening roar by the crowd inside the UDC Gym.
UDC, however, was assessed a technical foul as some of the student-athletes left the bench and charged the court with time still remaining on the clock, giving life to the Purple Knights with a free-throw and possession. Bridgeport's Stefano Osuji missed the free-throw, though, and the Purple Knights were unable to get off in time a game-tying shot attempt out of the inbounds pass.
The Firebirds improved to 14-12 overall and 11-7 in league play with today's win as they finish the 2016-17 season 10-3 on their home floor. UDC will be a No. 5 seed in the ECC Tournament and travel to Amherst, NY to take on No. 4 seed Daemen College (18-8, 12-6 ECC) in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 1st at 7 p.m.
The Purple Knights, who beat UDC by the same margin as today's game (80-77) in Bridgeport, CT back on January 18th the last time these two teams met, fell to 17-11 overall and 12-6 in league play. UB will be the No. 3 seed in the ECC Tournament and host No. 6 Queens College (13-12, 10-8 ECC) on Wednesday, March 1st at 7 p.m.
The Firebirds honored four seniors before the game: Kasim Chandler, Joseph Nickerson, Reggie Sidbury and Jayonne Troutman. Chandler and Nickerson went out in style as Chandler registered 19 points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists, and Nickerson added 13 points, seven rebounds, five steals, three assists and one blocked shot.
Meanwhile, junior guards Traevon Butler and Khalil Jackson were also instrumental in sending those seniors out with a victory as Butler pitched in 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, and Jackson added 12 points, seven rebounds and one assist.
Bridgeport, which has now lost its last two regular season games after having won six straight, put three starters in double-figures scoring. Osuji had a double-double with a game-high 15 points and 13 rebounds, Kyle Benjamin had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, and D'Vonne Trumbo pitched in 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Firebirds, though out-shot 45-percent (27-of-60) to 39-percent (27-of-70) from the field and out-rebounded 45-32, managed to come away victorious today with opportunistic defense. UDC had 13 steals and forced a total of 20 Purple Knights turnovers, of which the Firebirds turned into 29 points on the day. UDC also had an 18-4 advantage in fastbreak points.