PHILADELPHIA – A 20-7 run midway through the second half propelled the Philadelphia University men's basketball team to a 71-62 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) victory over Caldwell University Saturday afternoon in the Gallagher Center.
With the victory, Philadelphia improves to 17-8 overall—10-2 at home—and 13-3 against the CACC. Thanks to losses by Wilmington (Del.) and Goldey-Beacom, Philadelphia jumped from third into a tie with the Lightning for first place in the CACC southern division.
Before the opening tip, Philadelphia honored seniors Mike Louden (Glen Mills, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara), Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna), and Malcolm Gilbert (Smyrna, Del./Academy of the New Church) in a Senior Day ceremony.
The Rams faced a 40-33 deficit with 13:25 left in the contest when Derek Dorn—the Cougars' leading scorer with 11 points—knocked down a 3-pointer off of a screen from the right wing.
Gilbert got the game-changing run started on Philadelphia's next trip down the floor as he laid the ball in at the left block after a Kaison Randolph (Trenton, N.J./Pennington Prep) offensive rebound. The bucket started a string of seven straight Ram points that allowed Philadelphia to tie the game at 40 on two successful Randolph free throws.
After Vaughn Covington put Caldwell back up by three, Randolph and Josh Bradanese (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) both connected from deep to give Philadelphia a 46-43 lead—the Rams' first of the second half. Gibbs widen the gap to six (53-47) with a 3-pointer at the 7:23 mark to finish off the surge.
The Rams made seven of their eight shots during the run, while holding the Cougars to 3-of-8 shooting and forcing two turnovers.
Caldwell closed the gap to three points (59-56) with 3:10 left in the game after a Zay Jennings layup. The Rams were able to fend off a late Cougar charge, hitting six of their seven free throws down the stretch.
Philadelphia ran off straight points to overcome a slow start and take an 8-4 advantage. With the score even at 15, Randolph put Philadelphia back in front by two with a fast-break layup. It was the Rams' last lead of the half as the Cougars scored 15 of the next 18 points to open up a 30-20 advantage with 3:05 left before halftime.
The Rams had all seven players that stepped on the court get into the scoring column, led by a game-high 19 points from Kylan Guerra (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac). Gibbs racked up 16 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Randolph finished up with 13 points, while Bradanese had 11 points.
Gilbert grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
Philadelphia shot 45.1 percent (23-of-51) from the floor, including 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from 3-point range. In the second half, the Rams connected on 56.0 percent (14-of-25) of its shots, 60.0 percent (6-of-10) from three.
Caldwell ended the game shooting 39.3 percent (24-of-61) overall, 33.3 percent (5-of-15) from behind the arc.
Philadelphia visits Georgian Court for a CACC contest on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in the Wellness Center.