LANCASTER, Pa. – Gallaudet University's season came to a close here Saturday afternoon in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men's basketball tournament semifinal hosted by Lancaster Bible College. When the Bison needed a field goal, down the stretch, they were unable to make one as it fell 74-63 to Morrisville State College before 345 fans.
Morrisville St. (19-7) advances to Sunday's NEAC championship game against No. 15 Lancaster Bible College (26-0) with the chance to advance to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Gallaudet (18-8) wraps up the first season under the direction of Coach Kevin Kovacs as the team tied the program record for wins in a season (18) and went 10-1 at home.
GU hung onto a delicate 36-35 lead coming out of halftime after it trailed for the majority of the first half. After the game was tied at 47-47 with 15:22 left in regulation the Mustangs went on a 10-2 run over the next two and half minutes to take a 57-49 lead. Gallaudet pieced together a 6-0 run of its own, cutting the Mustang lead to 59-57 with 7:37 left in the game.
The Bison pulled to within two points, twice, but never tied or took a lead again in the game. The Mustangs were able to respond each time GU came within a single possession of the lead. Morrisville State iced the game by scoring the final seven points of the game, all coming from the free throw line.
The Bison struggled with their shooting in the last 20 minutes of the game, only converting 33.3 percent of their 27 shots and just one 3-pointer out of 12 attempts in the second half. Gallaudet's final field goal came at the 4:22 mark in the second half. GU missed five shots from the field, three free-throw attempts and turned the ball over twice in the final four minutes.
The Bison were led by junior guard Raymond Nelson (Riverside, Calif.) who finished with 19 points, five assists, both team highs, and junior center Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.) added 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes. Senior Trey Gordon (Talladega, Ala.) concluded his storied collegiate career with 16 points and four rebounds.
Senior forward Ibrahima Toure led the way for Morrisville St. with a double-double, scoring 23 points and collecting 12 rebounds. Senior guard Joe Hulbert added 18 points and four rebounds while sophomore guard Trent Ward had 12 points and three assists.
The Mustangs jumped out to an early 19-7 lead within the first six minutes of the game by making five 3-pointers, and held a 31-21 lead at 7:12 mark in the first half. Gallaudet finally got its offense going as it closed out the half on a 15-4 run to seize a one-point lead, 36-35, at halftime.
- Senior Todd Bonheyo (Frederick, Md.) had three points, two assists and two rebounds
- Senior Brandon Holsworth (Beal City, Mich.) added two points, two assists and two rebounds
- Junior center Shawn Harrington (Frederick, Md.) added eight points and four rebounds off the bench
- Junior Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds
- GU scored 24 points off 14 Morrisville turnovers
- The 63 points is the lowest GU has scored since it made 61 vs. Penn St.-Abington (Jan. 5)
- GU has never advanced to a NEAC Final since joining the conference in 2010-11
The team bids farewell to four players who have contributed immensely to the program: Bonheyo, Gordon, Holsworth and Nelson.
Bonheyo wrapped up his GU career with 45 starts in 71 games. He accumulated 342 points, 230 rebounds, 221 assists, 75 steals and converted 27 three-points. Bonheyo earned College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honors this season to go along with a NEAC Scholar-Athlete honor from last season.
Gordon wraps ups his four-year collegiate career with 89 career games, starting 67 of them. Gordon totaled 1,211 points, good for 15th place on school's all-time scoring list, to go along with 385 rebounds, 231 three-pointers, 103 assists, 79 steals while shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc. A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, Gordon also earned a CoSIDA Academic All-America third team honors last season to go along with being named to D3hoops.com All-Region Third Team, two NEAC Scholar-Athlete honors, two NEAC All-Conference first-team selections and three NEAC Men's Basketball Student-Athlete of the Week honors. This was Gordon's best season of his career with 463 points.
Holsworth only played one year of basketball, starting 18 of 22 career games. He finished this year with 143 points, 65 rebounds, 24 assists, 20 steals and sank 20 three-points.
Nelson wraps up his two-year career here at GU with 31 starts in 43 games. Nelson finished with 595 points, 158 assists, 136 rebounds, 78 steals while shooting 54 percent or better from the field in both years. Nelson was also named to two NEAC All-Conference third teams.
With today's loss, the Bison men's basketball program concludes their 2015-16 season with an 18-8 record. The team loses four players but is slated to return all-conference honoree McGriff along with 10 underclassmen in 2016-17.