UB sneaks past Molloy, 64-62
The University of Bridgeport men's basketball, the third seed, led for most of their game against Molloy College, the six seed, but needed to sweat out a tense final minute as they edged Molloy 64-62 in the East Coast Conference Quarterfinals.
The win improved the UB Purple Knights to 18-9, and they advance to the ECC Semifinals where they will take on the two seed, District of Columbia, which is 22-4 on the season. The game will take place at Queens College on Saturday March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Molloy finishes at 8-19.
"It was a good effort by both teams" UB head coach Mike Ruane said. "I thought we got a little tight at the end, and Molloy was really hungry in-game."
It was a tale of two halves for the teams. The Purple Knights raced out to a 35-26 halftime lead, in part because they shot 43.8% from the floor, and Molloy shot 36.7%.
The Purple Knights were also effective from three-point range in the first half, going 4-of-14.
The tide shifted in the second half, as Molloy went 15-of-27 from the floor while the Purple Knights went 11-of-28. UB also went 1-of-9 from three-point range in the second half, which almost proved to be their undoing.
"That's us all year," Ruane said. "We haven't been a good three-point shooting team all year. I'm hoping that we get hot at some point."
Yet, after Molloy cut the lead to 59-57 with under two minutes to go, it was senior guard William Harrison's three that ultimately changed the momentum in UB's favor.
"The play was designed sort of for me, but more so for (UB junior forward) Lloyd (Antoine) to get the screen and roll," he said. "What happened was both guys went for the wrong man and left me open."
Harrison finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. The only other Bridgeport player to finish with double digits in points was junior guard Darian David with 14.
UB led 64-57 with under 30 seconds to go, but watched Molloy cut it to three with five seconds left to go. Molloy's John Petrucelli was intentionally fouled with three seconds left. He made the first free throw, but intentionally missed the second. UB was unable to grab the rebound, which allowed Molloy guard Matt McLeod to attempt a desperate three. His shot missed the mark, and UB held on.
Now the Knights move on to face DOC, who they lost to 89-66 on Feb. 18. The team is not taking too much out of that result though.
"We just have to be ready to play." Harrison said.
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