Matt Borelli, Staff Writer-
Despite 18 points and four blocks from Trevon Hamlet, the Southern Men’s Basketball team fell 85-68 to Adelphi University. The loss dropped Southern to 12-12 overall and 9-11 in Northeast-10 play.
“I thought we played pretty well tonight, but Adelphi was tremendous. They played great. They made some tough shots late in the game and earned a hard fought win,” said head coach Mike Donnelly.
Southern jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead with a three pointer from Chazz McCarter, who finished with 16 points, and a jumper from junior guard Chris Harris, two of his six total points on the night.
Leading 18-11 with 12:17 left in the first half, Adelphi started to make their comeback. Trading baskets back and forth, Adelphi grabbed the lead for the first time on the evening with 8:07, 23-22 after a jumper from Richard Byrd (16 points).
A three pointer by Greg Langston (17 points) gave the Owls the lead right back 25-23 and started a quick run as they extended the lead to 28-23 with McCarter shooting 1-2 from the line and senior Dexton Williamson connecting on both from the stripe.
“We played hard tonight, but unfortunately some things did not go our way,” said McCarter.
Adelphi capitalized on 10 points off turnovers in the first half and led 40-36 heading into the half.
“I thought that we played a solid first half and as long as we maintained the high quality of play, then we had a shot,” said Adelphi head coach Dominick Savino.
The second half was all Adelphi. They led by no less than five the entire half and took advantage of second chances with seven-second chance points. Jumping to a 52-42 after a layup by David Akinyooye (6 points), McCarter hit a three, his second on the game to pull within seven. But with 13:55, Rob Johnson, who scored a game high 24 points was not relinquishing the lead as he came and hit a shot from the baseline to increase the lead back to nine.
“Rob played great tonight as did everyone,” said Savino. “Southern played us tough but we were able to pull it out in the end.”
Cutting the lead to five with a jumper from Langston with 7:14 left in the game, all 622 in attendance were on their feet trying to will the Owls with a comeback. But Adelphi answered quickly, with a John Calarco three pointer, his only of the game and three of his 13 points and gave Adelphi an 68-60 advantage with 7:03 left. Turnovers on two straight possessions by McCarter and Hamlet doomed the Owls comeback chances as they ran out of time. The Owls continued to foul allowing Adelphi earn the victory at the line and they did as they shot 14-18 from the free throw line for the game.
Following the game, Southern learned that they had clinched a berth in the Northeast-10 basketball tournament to add to a season that has been mentioned as one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball this year.
“Even though we are disappointed in the loss, we are very proud that we were able to clinch a NE-10 playoff berth tonight despite our setback to Adelphi,” said Donnelly. “ I keep telling our guys that there is nothing like college playoff basketball. It is the ultimate level of competition and we are very excited to be able to experience the conference playoffs beginning next Saturday.”