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WidenerMBB Holds on Down the Stretch To Top No. 9 Lycoming

(Sambo, Widener)

CHESTER, Pa. – Propelled by a big second half run and a career-high tying seven blocks from Sardayah Sambo (Middletown), the Widener University men's basketball team upset the No. 9 Lycoming Warriors 66-65 in a MAC Commonwealth contest at the Schwartz Center on Saturday afternoon.
 
The victory was the highest-ranked opponent Widener has beaten since topping No. 4 Elizabethtown 79-77 on Jan. 30, 2002.
 
"I'm happy for our team that we got the win today," said head coach Chris Carideo. "We haven't played particularly well lately and we made some mistakes again today, but the kids played tough. Against a great team like Lycoming, you have to be mentally and physically tough in order to compete."
 
With the Warriors ahead by a point, six minutes in, the Pride went on a 12-2 run in the next three-and-a-half minutes to jump on top 21-12 near the midway mark of the first half. After neither team scored for the next three minutes, the Warriors rattled off nine of the next 12 points to chop the WU lead to three before eventually taking a 33-30 lead with 18 seconds left in the frame. A trey that beat the buzzer for Widener sent the game into halftime, knotted at 33-33.
 
Lycoming got the early second half jump, netting the first nine points as the Pride didn't dent the scoreboard for the first four-plus minutes of the stanza. Trailing 48-41 with just under 11 minutes remaining, the Blue and Gold embarked on a 23-7 run, taking a 64-55 lead on a Sambo dunk with 1:42 remaining. The Warriors weren't finished, slicing the lead to 66-65 and had a chance at a tying free throw with 2.7 seconds left, but the charity stripe attempt hit off the back rim and the ensuing off-balance three for the win went off the iron.
 
HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sambo swatted seven shots for the second time this season and the fourth in his career. He also scored 11 points and pulled in five rebounds.
  • Tyler Drews led Widener with 13 points in the game. Connor Laverty chipped in 12, eight of them coming in the deciding run.
  • Laverty also led the Blue and Gold with seven rebounds. Sam Smith and Nick Jackson corralled six each.
  • Widener forced Lycoming into 20 turnovers, its second highest total of the season. It was also just the fourth time this year the Warriors have lost the turnover battle.

 
FIRST HALF NOTES

  • Trailing 10-9 at the 14:43 mark, the Pride embarked on a 15-4 run to take its largest lead of the game at 24-14 with 7:41 remaining in the half. Five different players scored for the Blue and Gold during the stretch, led by five from Drews.
  • Lycoming used a 13-6 spurt of its own to slice the lead to 30-27 before back-to-back threes from Damani Myers and T. J. Duckett pushed the Warriors on top 33-30 with 18 seconds left.
  • Drews sent the game into the half knotted at 33 apiece, connecting on a trey of his own right before the buzzer.
  • Widener had nine assists on 11 field goals in the half.

 
SECOND HALF NOTES

  • Lycoming looked like it would run away with the game, scoring nine in a row to open the stanza and holding the Pride off the board for the first 4:27 of the period.
  • Widener found its legs as three straight layups from Laverty, Sambo, and Jared Peters closed the gap to 44-41 just more than seven minutes in.
  • Trailing 48-41, the Blue and Gold scored 21 of 26 points in the next 8:43 to take a 62-53 lead on a Smith free throw with 3:05 left.
  • With Widener leading 64-55, Lycoming rallied. Starting with a make at the line from Chris Wallace, the Warriors closed on a 12-4 run.
  • With 2.7 seconds left and having already hit the front end of two free throws, Ronald Jefferson missed the second off the back rim. The ball was tapped out towards the Lycoming bench where Alex Newbold threw a last second, off-balance attempt towards the basket. The back knocked off the backboard and the base of the hoop before hitting the ground, sealing the Widener victory.
  • After struggling from the three-point line for the majority of the game, Widener hit five of its final eight shots from distance to close the contest.

 
UP NEXT
Widener continues MAC Commonwealth play with a trip to Lebanon Valley on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Tipoff from Annville, Pa. is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.


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