OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Stevenson University men's basketball team placed four players in double figures as it outlasted Medgar Evers 81-73 in the opening round of the Buffalo Wild Wings Classic Friday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium. The Mustangs (8-4) advance to Saturday's championship game (4 pm) where they will face Merchant Marine, an 84-72 winner over Penn State Abington in Friday's first game.
Medgar Evers (2-6) will face the Nittany Lions in Saturday's 2 pm consolation game.
Stevenson was paced by senior Danzel Wright's 23 points, with 16 of those coming in the second half. He finished 5-12 from the floor and 11-13 at the free throw line while also grabbing six rebounds. Junior Jaylin Johnson added 18 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Kobe Colston was 4-6 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers, and tallied 13 points off the bench. Junior Marcus Dentley posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cougars were led by Maurice Swaby's 27 points, 25 of which came after intermission.
The Mustangs trailed 59-56 with just over 10 minutes to play when they went on a 14-3 run capped by a Johnson basket to open up an eight-point lead, 70-62, at the 5:25 mark. Stevenson held Medgar Evers without a field goal for over six minutes, with Swaby's basket with 3:44 left that made it a 70-66 game breaking the drought.
Stevenson clung to a 72-68 lead when Wright was fouled attempting a three-pointer with 2:06 left. He sank all three to make it a three-possession game, and after the Cougars came up empty on their next trip, Dentley sank a pair at the line with 1:40 to go to increase the lead to nine. Stevenson made nine of its final 11 free throw attempts to seal the victory.
The two teams traded the lead five times in the opening minutes of the second half before a layup by junior Keith Moody put Stevenson up 45-42 with 15:26 to go. A 10-3 Medgar Evers spurt capped by a Swaby layup put the guests on top 52-48 at the 12:53 mark, and stayed up until a Colston basket with 9:08 to go put Stevenson back on top for good.
Medgar Evers led for much of the first half and took its largest lead, 26-18, with 6:38 left in the first half on a Timothy Bush basket. The Cougars led 33-25 with 2:00 on the clock, but Stevenson closed the frame on a 7-0 run and a three as time expired by sophomore Kyle Wooldridge cut the lead to one, 33-32, at the break.
Stevenson shot 47% in the second half and 37% for the game while the Cougars shot 39.4% from the floor. The Mustangs took 25 more trips to the free throw line, going 25-38, while MEC was 10-13. Stevenson led 49-44 in rebounding and held a 16-5 lead in second chance points on the night.