WASHINGTON - It was an emotional and thrilling victory for Gallaudet University here Saturday as the Bison defeated College of Saint Elizabeth, 79-72, in a key North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men's basketball divisional game. The win capped a successful Alumni Madness day, plus a special "Gold Rush" game as GU wore alternative gold uniforms thanks to Route 66 Promotions.
Gallaudet (5-13, 5-5 NEAC) led for the majority of the game and fended off a late push made by St. Elizabeth (5-12, 2-8 NEAC) in the final minute.
Sophomore guard Trace Martin (Shingle Springs, Calif.) scored 13 of his career-high 20 points in the first half as he finished the game with four three-pointers. Martin and junior forward Cody Crace (Westfield, Ind.) made back-to-back three-pointers in the closing minutes of the first half where GU led 41-37.
In the second half, Gallaudet led by as much as eight points before the visiting Eagles took a brief two-point lead, 57-55, at the 11:35 mark after Jordan Simmons (13 points) made a layup and a free throw.
The Bison quickly regained the lead when freshman guard Preston Kelly (Fishers, Ind.) made his own three-point play just 36 seconds later. Kelly finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
Gallaudet led the rest of the way while St. Elizabeth lingered around until the final buzzer sounded.
Senior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) scored a team best 21 points to go with 11 rebounds, six blocks, five steals and two assists. GU had four players reach double figures including Cruz, Martin, Kelly and sophomore guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.), who added 13 points.
St. Elizabeth guard Jason Saldiveri scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Cam Tucker and Simmons added 13 points each in the loss.
- Crace finished with six points, seven rebounds
- Freshman guard Shawn Daniels (Lakeland, Fla.) scored six points off the bench with two three-pointers
- Every GU player recorded one steal, seven players had at least one assist
- Gallaudet scored 20 second-chance points and 11 points off turnovers
- GU outrebounded St. Elizabeth by four, 43-39
- The Eagles got 25 points from their bench and outscored GU 44-20 in the paint
- The game featured five lead changes and two ties
- GU swept the season series with St. Elizabeth
- The Bison defeated the Eagles, 95-88, on Dec. 2
Gallaudet will next travel to Penn St.-Abington (7-9, 5-4 NEAC) on Tuesday, Jan. 30, for a NEAC South Division game at 6 p.m.