Mustangs Nearly Erase 27-Point Deficit

OWINGS MILLS, Md.– The Stevenson University men's basketball team nearly erased a 27-point second half deficit, but fell 85-83 to Alvernia University in MAC Commonwealth action Saturday afternoon at Owings Mills Gymnasium.

Stevenson (10-6, 2-5 MAC Commonwealth) trailed 42-24 at halftime and 56-29 three minutes into the second half as Alvernia (8-8, 3-4 MAC Commonwealth) opened the second half on a 14-5 run.  The Mustangs chipped away, with a 16-7 surge capped by a three by junior Johnny Rhodes cutting the deficit to 18 at the 11:47 mark.

Alvernia scored the next six points to push its lead back to 24, but a 17-6 Stevenson run pulled the hosts within 13, 75-62, with 5:41 left following a free throw by freshman Jonathan Mustamu.  Trailing by eight, senior Danzel Wright made it a two-possession game when he knocked down a contested three from the right corner with 1:32 left, putting the score at 80-75 in favor of the guests.

Alvernia sank a pair of free throws to push the lead back to seven, but on the ensuing Mustang possession, junior Jaylin Johnson found Mustamu for a layup with 1:06 left to make it 82-77.  After an empty possession by the Golden Wolves, Wright missed a three with 25 seconds left, but junior Keith Moody grabbed the offensive board and was fouled, however, he missed the front end of the one-and-one and Alvernia grabbed the board.  Alex Shippen made 1-of-2 at the line to make it 83-77 with 16.2 seconds left.

Wright knocked down a three from the top of the key to halve the lead with 6.3 seconds remaining.  Alvernia's Mike Miller was fouled on the inbounds and sank both free throws with 5.1 seconds to go.  Johnson knocked down a final three with 0.2 seconds on the clock to account for the final.

Alvernia scored the game's first seven points and held Stevenson to just one field goal in the first 11:30 as it opened up a 20-3 lead.  The Mustangs got the lead down to 11 twice, the second on a basket by junior Marcus Dentley with 6:40 to go that made it 25-14, but the Golden Wolves closed the half with a 7-2 spurt and opened up a 42-24 halftime lead.

Wright led Stevenson with 20 points, while Johnson totaled 16 while grabbing five rebounds and handing out five assists.  Mustamu, who did not play in the first half, scored 14 points in 12 minutes in the second half, making all five of his field goal attempts, including 3-3 behind the arc.  Moody narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Rhodes tallied five points and five assists.  Junior Mark Terrell chipped in with seven points.

Alvernia placed five players in double figures, with Calil Moultrie finishing with 22 and Shippen with 21.

Stevenson shot 62.9% (22-35) in the second half after going just 9-30 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.  Alvernia shot 53.8% for the game and went 19-23 at the free throw line while the Mustangs were 11-17.  Both teams grabbed 30 rebounds.

Stevenson returns to action Wednesday night when it travels down I-70 to face Hood in a 6:00 MAC Commonwealth contest.