RIVERDALE, NY – The visiting University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team was dealt an 82-64 loss to Mercy College in East Coast Conference play at the Peter Jay Sharp Center Saturday evening.
The Firebirds (1-12, 0-5 ECC) looked poised to earn their first league victory this season when they raced out to an eight-point lead (18-10) around the mid-way point in the first half. The Mavericks (7-7, 3-3 ECC), who had lost five of their last six contests going into today's game, came storming back, however, with a 22-7 surge to take a seven-point lead (32-25), and they would never look back.
Freshman forward Maurice Waters led three UDC scorers in double-figures with 13 points while also contributing five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot. Senior guard Traevon Butler scored 12 points – all of which came in the 2nd half – and junior transfer guard Danny Shand added 10 points and a team-best five assists.
Mercy was led by forward Dequawne Richards' 20 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots – all game-highs. Starting guards Chris Myers and Sal Barbetto combined for 28 points on 11-of-19 FG shooting as well as eight assists and eight rebounds, and Marko Kozul came off the bench to shoot 8-for-12 from the field en-route to a 19-point scoring effort with five rebounds and a blocked shot.
Waters scored UDC's first five points of the game, freshman guard Paul Eromosele scored the next five, and with some other scattered scoring from a few others, the Firebirds soared to an 18-10 lead just past the 10-minute mark in the first half. A jump shot by Barbetto would kick-start a 22-7 surge for the Mavericks over the next seven minutes though, as Kozul capped the run with a three-pointer to put Mercy ahead, 32-25 at the 2:09 mark. The Mavericks would keep that same seven-point margin as the horn sounded for halftime with the score, 36-29.
In the second half, UDC out-scored Mercy 7-4 in the first few minutes after the break to pull within four, 40-36 on a layup by senior guard Khalil Jackson. Still only trailing by six, 53-47 approaching the 10-minute mark, the Firebirds allowed Mercy on a 14-4 march that effectively ended UDC's chances at making a run. Kozulo's run-capping layup at the 7:15 mark made it 67-51, and UDC could never get any closer than 12 the rest of the way. The Mavericks went on to win by their largest margin of the night, 82-64.
Next up, UDC will visit ECC foe Daemen College on Wednesday, January 10th at 12 p.m.