MORRISVILLE, N.Y. - The Gallaudet University men's basketball team suffered its first North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) loss of the season here Sunday as Morrisville State College clipped the Bison, 96-90. The loss snaps Gallaudet's nine-game winning streak and its the first setback for the Bison in January.
Gallaudet (15-4, 13-1 NEAC) and Morrisville St. (11-5, 8-2 NEAC) got into an offensive showdown between the top teams from the south and north divisions.
The Mustangs raced out to an early 12-4 lead but the Bison came back and built a nine-point lead, 35-26. Freshman guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) hit a shot from behind the 3-point line with 7:23 left in the first half.
However, the Mustangs fought back eventually regaining the lead with just four seconds left in the first half. Morrisville State took a 46-45 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.
The Bison, hindered by foul trouble, struggled to keep pace with the surging Mustangs in the second half. The Mustangs extended their lead to nine points, 75-66, with 10:29 to go in regulation.
Nevertheless, Gallaudet intended to remain perfect in conference play and battled back. With 6:13 remaining on the clock, two made free throws by junior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) put the lead within reach for the Bison as he cut the Mustangs lead to one point, 78-77.
On the ensuing possession, Gallaudet stopped the Mustangs twice but allowed them to bring down two offensive rebounds, leading to a momentum shifting 3-pointer by Tyrin Miller. The made shot by Miller was the first three points of an 11-0 run by the Mustangs in a four-minute stretch.
Down by 10 with 1:00 left on the clock, the Bison began to foul in desperation. Although Valencia and senior guard Raymond Nelson (Riverside, Calif.) combined for 11 points in the final minute of the game. The Mustangs were able to hold onto the win thanks to several made free throws as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Valencia and Nelson led the offense for the Bison as they combined to score 50 points. Valencia dropped 28 points to go with five rebounds, two steals and two assists. Nelson netted 22 points for the Bison and recorded three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Mustangs were led by Miller who came off the bench and shot 8-for-9 from 3-point range and 10-for-13 from the field to score a game-high 30 points.
- This is Gallaudet's best start to a season in program history
- GU is one NEAC win away from tying its program record for conference wins in a season
- Senior center Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.) was held to 17 minutes, eight points, four rebounds and two blocks
- Cruz racked up 37 minutes for the Bison, scored 19 points to go with six rebounds and six assists
- Valencia's 28 points ties his career-high
- Senior center Shawn Harrington (Frederick, Md.) came off the bench and added six points and four rebounds
- The Bison were out-rebounded by the Mustangs, 46-39
- Gallaudet's bench was outscored, 40-11, in-large part due to Miller's 30 points
- GU combined for 15 assists
Gallaudet looks to bounce back on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. when they take on Penn St.-Abington (7-10, 6-6 NEAC South) on the road in a NEAC game for the second time this year. The Bison defeated the Nittany Lions 76-66 back on Jan. 12.