WASHINGTON – In an emotionally charged game Thursday night between the top two men's basketball teams in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) South Division, Gallaudet University saw an eight-point halftime lead disappear right in front of them in the second half against nationally ranked Lancaster Bible College, 76-64.
The loss snaps Gallaudet's five-game winning streak that began after the Bison lost at LBC on January 30. This is also GU's first loss in the Field House this season.
Coming back onto the court after halftime, Gallaudet (15-7, 12-4 NEAC) extended its 36-28 lead to 11 on a 3-pointer by senior guard Trey Gordon (Talladega, Ala.), the largest such lead that GU would hold in this game. Over the next seven minutes, No. 15 Lancaster Bible (23-0, 16-0 NEAC) would go on a 17-6 run to knot the game at 45 with 12:37 left in the game.
The Bison faithful fans, who had packed the Field House in hopes of witnessing a historic upset, erupted when junior center Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.) dunked one minute later, tying the score for the last time at 47. Following that dunk, the Chargers went on a 6-0 run which gave them a lead they would never relinquish no matter how close the Bison came to tying the game.
There were several opportunities that GU couldn't capitalize on, coming as close as within two points four times midway through second half, as the game became more physical and the Bison started to run out of time. The Chargers sealed the game in the last two and half minutes of the game by scoring the last eight points of the game, sinking six free throws in the process.
LBC outscored Gallaudet by 20 points, 48-28, in the second half.
Gallaudet was led by sophomore forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) and Gordon who finished with 16 points apiece. Cruz led the team in rebounds with 12 and also dished out a team-high four assists while Gordon added seven rebounds and three steals. McGriff contributed 12 points and nine rebounds despite being limited to 24 minutes.
The Chargers were led by reigning NEAC Player of the Year senior forward C.J. Dunston who scored 24 points and collected 14 rebounds, both game-highs, plus made three steals and blocked two shots. Junior guard Bryce Williams had 14 points, a team-high four assists and sophomore guard Herbie Brown added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
- Junior Raymond Nelson (Riverside, Calif.) added 10 points, four rebounds and three assists
- This was Cruz's fourth double-double of the season
- GU outrebounded Lancaster Bible on both ends of the court with a 49-40 margin
- The Chargers scored 23 points off 20 Bison turnovers
- Gallaudet's bench was outscored by Lancaster Bible, 19-3
- LBC shot under 40 percent as a team in a game for the first time this season
- GU shot a season low 36.5 percent from the field (23 of 63)
- Lancaster Bible only scored 28 points in the first 20 minutes, its lowest scoring half this season
- The Chargers 76 points is tied for the team's lowest offensive output this season
- This is GU's first loss in February
Gallaudet will wrap up its regular season with two home games this weekend, starting with NEAC South Division foe Penn St.-Berks (8-14, 8-8 NEAC) this Saturday, Feb. 20, at 1 p.m.