RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Senior forward Jeff Lewis (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) scored 11 points in a 2 ½ minute stretch of the second half to spark Felician University to a 76-70 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference men's basketball victory over visiting Bloomfield College on Wednesday night at Job Gymnasium. Felician gained a split of its two-game CACC season series with the Bears.
The victory, combined with other conference results from Wednesday, leaves the Golden Falcons (9-13, 7-7 CACC) among four teams spaced 1 ½ games apart vying for the final two playoff berths from the CACC North Division. Felician exits the night in fifth place, a half game behind both Bloomfield and Caldwell University, with five games to play. The Golden Falcons have a contest remaining with Caldwell on Feb. 26 in Rutherford.
Lewis, who is not related to Felician head coach Ivan Lewis, led all scorers with 20 points. He drained a career-best four three-point field goals, including three on consecutive Golden Falcon possessions to help his team build a 21-point lead and hold on during the closing minutes.
After falling behind, 15-10, Felician used a layup and two dunks by Pearson to fashion an 8-0 run and never trail again. As the first period neared its end, another Pearson slam punctuated a 10-2 Golden Falcon spurt, and the hosts entered halftime ahead, 39-30. Pearson led all players at the break with 10 points.
The hosts were still up by eight after Bloomfield senior Dontay Julius (Linden, N.J./St. Mary-Elizabeth) canned a three with 11 minutes, 54 seconds, left in regulation time. Felician then rattled off the game's next 13 points, the final nine on a trio of longballs from Lewis, to assume its largest advantage of the night, 72-51, at the 6:40 mark.
The Bears nearly erased the entire deficit. Still ahead by 18 after a Lewis layup with 5:38 left, the Golden Falcons scored only two points for the rest of the night. Consecutive threes by Darin Bellinger (Stroudsburg, Pa./East Stroudsburg North) chopped a 14-point spread to 76-68 at 1:48, and on Felician's next trip, Bloomfield junior Rich Chapman (Newark, N.J./Cordia) made a steal layup to make the score 76-70 with 1:28 to go.
Bloomfield (12-12, 8-7) made three defensive stops as the game clock wound down but misfired each time as the Golden Falcons hung on. Chapman led the visitors with 17 points and Bellinger recorded 15 points and seven rebounds. Felician survived being held scoreless for the final 3:51.
Felician sophomore Jaylen Colon (Paterson, N.J./John F. Kennedy) amassed eight points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Classmate Jay'von Jackson (Plainfield, N.J./St. Mary-Elizabeth) also scored eight points.
Felician next plays on Saturday, when it hosts the University of the Sciences at 3:30 p.m.