CALDWELL, N.J. – The Felician University men's basketball team was outscored, 31-15, over the final eight minutes of its 87-74 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference loss to host Caldwell University on Wednesday night on the Newman Center's Corino Court. Caldwell (14-10, 10-5 CACC), which has won six consecutive games, gained a split of its two-game season series with the Golden Falcons.
Felician (10-11, 8-6) remained two games ahead of Concordia (N.Y.) College for the final playoff berth from the CACC North Division. Concordia (9-14, 6-8) fell to regionally-ranked Dominican (N.Y.) College on Wednesday. The Golden Falcons and Clippers each have five league games remaining, including a meeting with each other on Feb. 23 in Rutherford.
Felician, however, fell 1 ½ games behind third-place Caldwell with Wednesday's setback.
Junior Ned Ogoemesim (Westhampton, N.J.) paced Caldwell with 19 points and five assists. Junior Zamir Wright (Newark, N.J.) scored 19 points and redshirt freshman Aziz Parker (Westhampton, N.J.) came off the bench to add 16 for Felician.
Wednesday's first half featured five ties and nine lead changes, with the teams remaining within two possessions of each other. Felician's 36-30 edge following two Parker free throws with 3:16 left in the period was the largest spread for either side, but the Cougars finished with seven of the half's final nine points and the Golden Falcons were forced to settle for a one-point lead.
A 9-0 Felician run early in the second period turned a 43-43 tie at the 18:49 mark into a 52-43 edge for the visitors with 16:05 to play in regulation time. But by 12:52, consecutive A.J. Kittles (Glassboro, N.J.) baskets had again tied the score, 56-56.
Felician went back ahead on a layup and free throw from Manny Warren Jr. (South Amboy, N.J.). But the hosts rallied for the next six points, taking the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Thomas Elliott-Smith (Plymouth, England) with 10:40 left.
Felician made one more run. A Warren three-pointer cut a seven-point deficit to 73-69 at 5:04, and the visitors regained possession. Caldwell recovered the ball after a Kittles blocked shot, however, and consecutive layups by Ahmad Harrison (Newark, N.J.) began a clinching 10-0 spurt for the hosts.
Manley Dorme (Nanuet, N.Y.) netted 18 points and Harrison finished with 15 points and eight assists for Caldwell. Warren amassed 15 points and nine rebounds for Felician.
Caldwell shot 51 percent from the floor and committed only eight turnovers.
Felician returns to action on Saturday with a conference road game at 3 p.m. against Chestnut Hill College.