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Second Half Push Sends Men’s Basketball to Victory, 107-97 Over NYIT

Men's Basketball vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, 1/13/18
Jackson had a career-high 29 points along with eight rebounds, four blocked shots, three steals and two assists.

WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team claimed its 2nd win of the season as the host Firebirds defeated East Coast Conference foe New York Institute of Technology, 107-97 on Saturday afternoon at the UDC Sports Complex.

Trailing 59-56 two minutes into the 2nd half, UDC (2-15, 1-8 ECC) embarked on a 13-0 run - which featured two assists and a layup by junior guard Danny Shand – and catapulted the Firebirds in front by their largest margin of the game, 69-59. That was a lead District of Columbia would not relinquish as it never let NYIT within any closer than four points for the remaining 15-and-a-half minutes of regulation. The Bears suffered their 5th straight loss to fall to 3-17 overall and 1-8 in league play.

Shand finished with a season-high 12 assists – the most by a UDC player since Quasim Jones handed out 16 assists in a 100-67 win vs. NYIT on February 6th, 2013. He also tied his season-high of 18 points and collected six rebounds.

Meanwhile, senior guard Khalil Jackson also had a monster day for UDC, scoring a career-high 29 points on 9-of-12 FG shooting (11-of-16 FT) while also registering eight rebounds, four blocked shots, three steals and two assists. Junior transfer guard Kevin Cox also posted his 2nd double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and guards Traevon Butler and Quadire Truesdale added 17 and 13 points, respectively. With 107 points scored today, the Firebirds beat their previous season-high point total by 17 points.

For NYIT, forward Jeffrey Hayden and guard Kieran Hamilton carried much of the scoring load. Hayden led all scorers today with 35 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field and a perfect 13-of-13 shooting at the foul line, and he also accumulated eight rebounds and five assists. Hamilton added 20 points on 6-of-16 FG shooting (4-of-6 FT), including 4-of-10 from behind the arc.

The Firebirds out-shot their guests 56-percent (37-of-66) to 43-percent (31-of-72) from the field and 46-percent (5-of-11) to 38-percent (8-of-21) from three-point range. They may have won by a more comfortable margin were it not for a poor free-throw shooting performance of 62-percent (28-of-45).

Jackson scored UDC's first eight points of the game to help the Firebirds stay in the game early as both teams came out hot right out of the gate. Hayden had six early points and Hamilton knocked down a three-pointer, and NYIT led by as many as seven in the opening minutes of the first half. Facing a 15-8 deficit, UDC responded with a 15-4 surge over a three-and-a-half minute span to pull in front, 23-19 on a layup by Cox around the 11-minute mark. The lead would change hands seven more times before the two ECC foes settled for a 51-all tie at the end of the half. Hayden would already have 17 points and Hamilton 11 for NYIT while Jackson (18 points) and Cox (13) carried the load for UDC.

In the 2nd half, Hayden continued to dominate the paint as he added 18 points to his game-high total, and Hamilton added nine points to his; however, the rest of the team combined for just 19 points in the 2nd half, while four UDC players – Shand (13), Butler (13), Jackson (11) and Truesdale (11) all scored in double-figures during the final 20 minutes of play. The Firebirds shot an impressive 58-percent from the field in the 2nd half which included a blistering 83-percent on 5-of-6 shooting from behind-the-arc as they out-scored the Bears, 56-46 to close out the game.

Next up, UDC will visit ECC foe Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY on Wednesday, January 24th at 7 p.m.