WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University men's basketball survived a late scare from Penn College here Saturday evening in a North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) tilt that the host Bison won 78-71 in the Field House.
Gallaudet (7-3, 5-0 NEAC) led comfortably 41-23 at halftime and increased the margin to 20 early in the second half. Penn College (2-7, 0-4 NEAC) responded with a 16-1 run in a five-minute span to trim the GU lead to five, 44-39, at the 14:23 mark. The Bison answered with their own 13-4 run before the Wildcats cut the lead to single digits for the final eight minutes of the contest.
Penn College hit two big 3-pointers and a layup to knot the game at 70 with 1:19 left in regulation, which forced Gallaudet to take a timeout.
The Bison pushed the ball the next several possessions to come up with three big baskets from senior guard Raymond Nelson (Riverside, Calif.) and junior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) as Gallaudet led by six, 76-70, with 27 seconds left.
Senior center Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.) made his fifth block in the game, seconds later, as he spiked down a shot by Erik Perry Jr. to bring the Bison faithful to their feet in jubilation.
Four different Bison finished in double figures led by McGriff's 21 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Cruz (11 rebounds) and Nelson finished with 15 points while freshman guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) finished with his first collegiate double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Erik Eichinger and Ben Sosa led the Wildcats with 19 points each.
- McGriff moves up to No. 15 on the all-time Bison scoring leaderboard after his performance today. He passes current assistant coach Layton Seeber and Mark Myers who had 1,116 career points.
- Sophomore Jawaun Jackson (Downey, Calif.) added six points and six rebounds
- Nelson passed out a game-high seven assists
- Nelson currently has 210 career rebounds and 210 career assists in three seasons
- Junior Derek Keels (San Diego, Calif.) made a game best four steals
- GU controlled the post position with 54 points in the paint
- The Bison scored 21 points off 17 Penn College turnovers
Gallaudet begins the New Year in the Field House for three homes game. The Bison will welcome College of Saint Elizabeth tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 8) to the nation's capital. The Eagles are 2-6 overall and 1-3 in NEAC play this season.