RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team completed a comeback from a 15-point second-half deficit by converting on a late tiebreaking layup to earn an 87-85 non-conference victory over host Felician University on Sunday afternoon at Job Gymnasium.
Both teams were playing for the first time since the mandatory Division II Dead Period ended on Dec. 27. The Penmen (7-5) were ending a 14-day layoff, while Felician was playing for only the third time in a 24-day stretch.
The Golden Falcons (2-7) completed the non-league portion of their 2018-19 slate.
Felician assumed an 85-83 lead on a layup in traffic by freshman Dee-End McRae (Irvington, N.J./Newark Central) with one minute, 35 seconds left in regulation time, but Penmen senior Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) answered with a drive to the rim on the other end of the floor. The Golden Falcons twice had the ball with a chance to move back on top, but turned it over each time, the latter on a charging call with the shot clock off.
Out of a timeout, SNHU got the ball in the hands of Andrews, who dribbled down the game clock while being tightly defended. With fewer than 10 seconds to play, he went to his left hand and worked his way from above the right elbow down the left side of the lane, making a left-handed lay-up with 0:03.6 to play. It was the 13th lead change of the contest.
The hosts eschewed the timeout, and the Penmen countered by leaving two defenders at three-quarter court. The Golden Falcons could only manage a 60-foot heave by Zamir Wright (Newark, N.J./University HS), which was on line but bounced off the back rim and toward midcourt as time expired.
Andrews finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds. He netted 22 points after halftime, including 13 in the final seven minutes to spark SNHU's comeback. The Penmen received 23 points from junior Eamonn Joyce (Medford, Mass./Hyde School [Conn.]) (5-11 3FG, 4-4 FT).
Wright topped five double-figure scorers for Felician with 22 points. Freshman Jay'von Jackson (Plainfield, N.J./St. Mary-Elizabeth) collected 15 points and six rebounds.
Both teams struggled from the floor in the first half. SNHU shot 33 percent while Felician made 28 percent of its shots, and the Penmen left the floor with a 35-32 lead at halftime. The hosts built a seven-point edge on a Jeff Lewis (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) layup with 14:43 to play, only to see it sliced to 56-55 at the 12:46 mark.
A four-point play by Wright touched off a 19-5 spurt that gave Felician its largest spread of the day, 75-60, at 7:58. The Golden Falcons were up by that same margin, 80-65, moments later, only to see SNHU run off 15 consecutive points, including eight by Andrews, to tie the score at the 3:39 mark. The sides traded three-pointers to set up the dramatic finish.
Felician senior Rahsaan Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y./Chelsea CTE) recorded 11 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots, and teammates Lewis and Rachid Shimou (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway) also scored 11 points each. Junior Shawn Montague (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Canterbury) amassed 15 points and 13 rebounds for SNHU.
Felician seeks its first Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference win of the campaign when it hosts Caldwell University on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Rutherford.