Philadelphia, Pa. - The Holy Family University men's basketball made history Tuesday night as the Tigers defeated cross-town rival Philadelphia University for the first time in program history by the score of 65-62 in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) contest at the Gallagher Athletic Center.
Holy Family improves to 4-4 overall and 1-1 in the CACC after the win, while Philadelphia is now 5-2 overall and 2-1 in conference action.
Prior to tonight's victory, Holy Family lost the previous 23 match ups with Philadelphia, including regular and post season play. The Tigers are now 1-23 all-time versus their cross-town rival.
Junior Ervin Ezell (Deptford, N.J./Deptford High) led all scorers with 19 points as he shot 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. He also recorded five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Ezell also added to his NCAA Division II lead with one steal to total 36 on the season.
Sophomore Richard Council (New York, N.Y./Rice) contributed 18 points to go along with seven rebounds. Council shot 4-of-8 from the field and 10-of-14 from the charity stripe. Senior Angel Ayala (Allentown, Pa./William Allen) also scored in double figures as he chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench. He also dished out a team-best four assists. Junior Alberto Munoz (Morrisville, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) added ten points for the Tigers.
For Philadelphia, freshman Andre Gibbs led the Rams with 18 points after draining four three-pointers. Fellow classmates Derek Johnson finished with 17 and seven boards and Peter Alexis added 12 points and seven boards as well. Junior Nick Christian contributed ten points and seven rebounds after shooting 4-of-8 from the field.
In the second half, Holy Family led by as many as seven points midway through the half after a layup basket by Ayala made the score 48-41 with 10:23 on the clock.
Philadelphia quickly rallied and erased the Tigers' lead with an 11-0 run over the next three-plus minutes. A jumper by Alexis made the score 52-48 with 7:23 to play.
However, Holy Family would regain the lead after sophomore Eric Fleming (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) drained a three-pointer at the 6:03 mark to give the Tigers a 54-53 advantage.
From that point on, the Tigers maintained the lead and even increased the margin to five points with 2:21 to play after a layup by Ezell (61-56). Philadelphia would cut the lead to one point less than a minute later after Johnson converted a pair of free throws to make the score 61-60.
On the Tigers following possession, Ayala was fouled and converted two free throws to give the Tigers a 63-60 lead with 1:14 to play.
As the game progressed and with :11 seconds left, Holy Family fouled Philadelphia chasing down a loose ball which resulted in a pair of free throws for the Rams. Christian made both to make the score 63-62. On the ensuing inbound play, the Rams quickly followed Ezell who went to the line and drained both free throws to give the Tigers a 65-62 lead with less than ten seconds on the clock.
After a timeout by Philadelphia with 1.3 seconds, the Rams managed to get off a three-point attempt to tie the game, but the shot fell short to secure the Tigers' historic victory.
Holy Family shot nearly 50-percent (13-27) from the field in the second half as the offense turned the ball over once the entire half due to an offensive foul. The Tigers defense forced five turnovers in the second half and held the Rams to only 33.3-percent shooting. The game featured 13 lead changes and three ties as both teams battled back-and-forth.
Holy Family is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 8 as the Tigers host Concordia College in a CACC contest. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.
- HFU -