OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Stevenson University senior Michael Byrd totaled 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists in his final home game, but Alvernia University proved to be too much as the Crusaders posted a 94-77 MAC Commonwealth men's basketball victory Tuesday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium.
Byrd, the lone senior honored in Senior Night ceremonies prior to the game, finished 8-9 at the free throw line. He also totaled two steals and a blocked shot. Freshman Cameron Hayes was the other player in double figures for Stevenson (4-20, 2-13 MAC Commonwealth), pouring in a career-high 31 points on 12-19 shooting for his sixth straight game in double figures. Hayes also corralled six rebounds.
Alvernia (15-9, 9-6 MAC Commonwealth) was led by 33 points by Marquis Marshall.
Stevenson and Alvernia were knotted 11-11 five minutes into the game following a layup by Byrd before back-to-back threes by Alex Shippen put the Crusaders on top 17-11. The guests pushed the lead to nine, 24-15, with just under 12 minutes left before intermission, but a basket by Hayes made it 24-18 with 10:08 left. Leading 29-23, Alvernia closed the half on a 16-8 run and took a 45-31 lead into the locker room.
The Mustangs got the lead down to 12 early in the second half before Alvernia gradually pulled away, taking a 67-47 lead with 11:37 remaining. Stevenson used a 7-0 run capped by a conventional three-point play by Hayes to whittle the lead to 13 at the 10:20 mark. The Crusaders answered with a 10-3 spurt to push the lead back to 20 with 6:30 on the clock.
Stevenson made one final run, outscoring Alvernia 9-1 over a span of 2:22 to slash the lead to 12, 78-66. The run was capped by a steal and layup by Byrd in which he was fouled and turned into a three-point play. The hosts pulled within a dozen one more time, but that would be as close as they would come.
Alvernia shot 55.2% in the first half and 50.8% for the game while limiting Stevenson to 43.8% shooting, though the Mustangs were 16-32 from the floor over the final 20 minutes. The Crusaders knocked down 12 of their 23 three-point attempts, while the hosts were just 3-20 behind the arc. Alvernia went 20-28 at the free throw line while Stevenson was 18-22, and the Mustangs had a 36-35 rebound advantage. The Mustangs generated a 19-9 lead in second chance points.
Stevenson closes out the season Saturday afternoon when it travels to league-leading Lycoming College for a 3:00 contest.
Head Coach Gary Stewart talks about the team's game with Alvernia on Senior Night.