Philadelphia, Pa. - The Holy Family University men's basketball did something no team has done in program history as the Tigers swept the season series versus cross-town rival Philadelphia University with a 60-59 victory in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) contest Wednesday night at the Campus Center Gym.
Holy Family is now 13-9 overall and 9-4 in the CACC, while Philadelphia is now 13-7 overall and 8-3 in conference play. Both teams are technically tied for first in the CACC South Division with the Tigers holding an edge in the win column, while the Rams hold an advantage in the loss column.
Holy Family had four players scored in double-figures, including senior Angel Ayala (Allentown, Pa./William Allen) and junior Alberto Munoz (Morrisville, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) who both score a team-high 16 points. Ayala shot 5-of-7 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Munoz finished the game with four three-pointers (4-9) and came up one rebound shy of a double-double after grabbing nine rebounds.
Junior Ervin Ezell (Deptford, N.J./Deptford High) shot 4-of-7 from the field as he finished with 12 points. Ezell also filled the stat sheet with a game-high five assists, two steals and a block. Freshman Isaiah Gans (Philadelphia, Pa./Redemption Christian Academy) contributed ten points (5-9 FG) and had a pair of blocks on the defensive end.
For Philadelphia, freshman Peter Alexis led all scorers with 21 points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds to record his eighth double-double of the season. Fellow classmate Andre Gibbs added 17 points, while senior Jim Connolly contributed 11 points. Junior Nick Christian tallied eight points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Rams.
Holy Family opened the game on a 22-7 run to lead by as many as 15 points after Munoz drained a three-pointer at the 9:27 mark of the half. Munoz scored 13 of the Tigers' 22 points in that span.
However, Philadelphia outscored the Tigers the final 9:27 of the half with a 22-7 run of its own to tie the game at 29-29 to close out the half.
In the second half, Holy Family led majority of the way as the Tigers took a nine-point lead early on in the half. A pair of free throws by Ayala made the score 43-34 at the 13:06 mark.
Over the next seven-plus minutes, Philadelphia began chipping away at the Tigers' lead. The Rams went on to outscore the Tigers, 21-12, to tie the game at 55-55 after a layup by Christian with 4:40 to play in regulation.
Philadelphia took its first lead of the half after a jumper by Alexis made the score 57-55 with 3:16 on the clock. Holy Family answered right back and tied the game with a layup by Ezell on its following possession.
The Tigers regained the lead at the 2:16 mark after Ayala split a pair of free throws (58-57). However, less than a minute Philadelphia grabbed the lead right back after another Alexis layup made the score 59-58 with 1:37 remaining.
On the following possession, Gans gave the Tigers the go-ahead and eventual game-winning basket as he knocked down a shot just outside the paint to make the score 60-59 with 1:23 to play.
Philadelphia had a chance to win the game in the final :14 seconds after Christian blocked a Holy Family shot. The Rams controlled the rebound and called a timeout with :12 seconds left. After the timeout, Philadelphia was forced to call another after the Holy Family defense disrupted the Ram's offense with three seconds showing on the clock.
Coming out of the second timeout, the Holy Family defense once again came up big as Philadelphia put up a last second three-point attempt that hit the back of the rim to seal the victory for the Tigers.
Holy Family is back in action on Saturday, Feb. 6 as the Tigers travel to face Felician College in a CACC contest. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.
- HFU -