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Purple Knights cruise past St. Thomas Aquinas, 81-49 on Senior Night

By Joshua Ryan
On February 22, 2012

On February 18, the University of Bridgeport men's basketball team suffered one of its worst losses of the seasons, losing at the University of the District of Columbia 89-66.

 

Senior guard William Harrison said the team's effort was lacking and that the team wasn't able to adjust to the long bus ride to Washington D.C. and spending a night in a hotel.

 

Returning to their home court turned out to be what the team needed, as they played their best game of the season, dominating conference rival St. Thomas Aquinas College 81-49 in their final home game of the regular season.

 

The Purple Knights held STAC to 30% shooting for the game, including 5 of 25 shooting in the first half. In contrast, the Purple Knights shot 44% from the floor.

 

They out-rebounded STAC 62 to 29, and led by as many as 38 points.

 

UB men's basketball head coach Mike Ruane said he knew STAC was good at executing and moving the ball, and game planned around it.

 

"We wanted to pressure them, and I felt we hurried them up," Ruane said. "There were a lot of turnovers, and we are able to transition off of it."

 

The win improved UB to 16-9 overall, and 10-4 in the East Coast Conference. The loss dropped STAC to 8-17 overall, and 4-11 in the ECC.

 

The Purple Knights trailed only once all game, 6 to 5 early in the first half. UB dominated from that point, going on a 34 to 2 run. STAC didn't reach double digits in points until 1:25 was left in the first half. UB led at the half 43-15.

 

Junior guard Hakeem Rodriguez led the team in scoring with 17 points. Harrison finished second with 16 points, and had seven rebounds. Senior guard Dante Menter contributed with 13 points and nine rebounds.

 

Before the game, the three seniors on the team (Menter, Harrison, and Sandy Tanner) were recognized for their contributions to the team.

 

Harrison, who transferred to UB after playing at Quinnipiac University last year, said that while he was nervous at first going from a Division I program to a Division II program, he said he has to come love it and that he wishes he would have transferred after his sophomore season.

 

Regardless of what the team does in its final regular season game on Saturday at the New York Institute of Technology, UB is locked into the three seed in the ECC, and will likely face Molloy next Wednesday in the opening round of the ECC tournament.

 

Ruane said he is still concerned about some areas with the team, including its defensive rebounding and free throw shooting.

 

"The season has come upon us quickly, so we still haven't played our best basketball yet," he said.

 

The win has renewed Harrison's confidence, and he believes the team can go far.

 

"After this game, I feel like we can take the conference, "he said.


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