The Berkeley College men's basketball team came out hitting on all cylinders Saturday evening, turning back the Panthers of Albany College of Pharmacy by a score of 87-57 in a Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest played at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. With the victory, the Knights improved to 23-0 on the 2016-2017 campaign, including a perfect 8-0 mark in league play. Berkeley has also now won 47 consecutive contests as a program. The Panthers dipped to 7-12 overall, and 5-3 in HVIAC action.
At halftime of this game – with Berkeley College leading Albany College of Pharmacy 43-22 - Berkeley College Department of Athletics Athletic Director Andy DeStephano and Assistant Athletic Director Stephen Spagnoli – as well as Head Coach Chris Christiansen and the entire men's basketball program – took a few moments to honor five incredible seniors who gave their all during their playing careers at the institution. Those five seniors were Massiah Merritt, Stephon Jennings, Johnnie Green, Dondre Simmons, and Jeffrey Mejia.
The ceremony included some heartfelt sentiments expressed by Christianen about each senior, and all five of the aforementioned student-athletes were presented commemorative plaques honoring their years of service to the program, as well as single red roses.
Albany College of Pharmacy put forth a valiant comeback effort, but the Panthers – who once trailed the Knights by 25 points (41-16) in the opening session – were only able to get to within 16 (49-33) before the Knights eventually pulled away. Berkeley College would gradually build its lead as the second half progressed, and Berkeley would go on to win the game by 30. The Knights have now won eight of their 23 contests this season by at least 30 points or more.
In the win for Berkeley, it was rookie Paul Johnson pacing Berkeley, as he scored a team-high 14 points to go along with three rebounds. Green added 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two assists, and Jennings recorded 11 points, a game-high nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals,
Despite the loss for the Panthers, Brandon Votra connected on seven of his 10 attempts from the floor to finish with 17 points. He also contributed seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Alex Johnson added 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists, and Nathan Beltran finalized his evening with 13 points and two steals.
Berkeley connected on 49.3 percent of its attempts from the floor (34-69) compared to just a 36.1 percent conversion rate for the Panthers (22-61). The Knights out-rebounded Albany College of Pharmacy 51-31, while also recording 23 assists compared to 14 for the opposition. Berkeley dominated in the paint, netting 44 points there while the Panthers scored 28.
The Knights will finalize the regular season portion of their 2016-2017 schedule on Tuesday evening, as Berkeley College will take to the road to battle Valley Forge University. Start-time for that contest will be 8:00pm.