BLOOMFIELD, NJ – The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team earned its first win of the season vs. host Bloomfield College by a score of 83-77 Wednesday night at Bloomfield Gym.
The Firebirds (1-2), who never trailed the entire night, had to fend off a ferocious Bears' attack in the 2nd half to come away victorious. Bloomfield, a member of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, fell to 0-3 on the season.
UDC used a team effort to pull off this regional road victory, with three of its five starters, plus one reserve, scoring in double-figures, and seven different players grabbing at least two rebounds.
Junior transfer forward Aaren Smith led the Firebirds offensively with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field (2-of-4 from long range) and 1-for-1 shooting at the foul line. Guards Danny Shand and Kerry Kirkwood added 15 points apiece and combined for nine rebounds, and senior guard Kevin Cox added 13 points in 20 minutes off the bench.
Meanwhile, senior guard Quadire Truesdale made his impact with nine rebounds (all defensive), a game-high eight assists, six points, two blocks and two steals.
The Bears also featured four double-figure scorers, including a game-high 22 points by Keith Washington. Rich Chapman added 19 points and five rebounds, and Kavione Green flirted with a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Firebirds started the game red-hot from three-point range, making six of their first eight long range attempts, including three by Kirkwood and two by Smith. That helped launch UDC to a 20-point lead, 31-11, as the first half approached the seven-minute mark. Bloomfield would close out the half, however, on a 12-4 run and close the gap to 35-23 at the break.
In the 2nd half, BC's Green kicked off the scoring with a layup about 40 seconds into the action. That layup began a seven-minute stretch that saw the Bears out-score the Firebirds, 25-13 and force the first and only tie of the game, 48-all, with 12:38 left in regulation.
Still only a one-point UDC lead approaching the eight-minute mark, Smith scored five consecutive points and Cox finished the flurry with a dunk to cap a 7-0 run and build an eight-point cushion, 66-58. The Firebirds would lead by as many as 11 down the stretch, including a 76-65 advantage following a Zachary Olukanni layup at the 3:47 mark.
But Bloomfield did not go away, as the Bears out-scored UDC, 9-1 over a three-minute span, and closed the gap to three, 77-74 with 40 seconds remaining. UDC was able to hold on for the victory, though, by converting 6-of-6 free-throws in the final 33 seconds of the game.
Next up, UDC will visit Slippery Rock of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) on Saturday, November 17th at 3 p.m.