The Berkeley College men's basketball team cruised to its 15th consecutive victory on Wednesday evening, defeating the Lions of The King's College (NY) by a score of 99-35 in a Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest. The game took place at Baruch College in Lower Manhattan. With the triumph, the Knights are now 18-1 on the 2017-2018 campaign, and an unblemished 5-0 in league play. The Lions dropped to a mark of 3-7 on the year – and 0-4 in regional competition. Following the victory, Head Coach Jonathan Pena spoke.
"It was very successful evening for us on many counts," Pena said. "First and foremost, we continued to inch closer to earning a berth in the 2017-2018 HVIAC Tournament. Secondly, we were able to get a lot of our guys in the mix tonight. Everybody played hard, and I was pleased with the tenacity and grit we showed on the court. Sometimes I don't know what's more evident: The fact that this team loves to win, or the fact that it detests losing. Either way, both of the aforementioned facts exemplify the mindset that these guys bring to the court night in and night out. We'll enjoy this one tonight and then get ready for a tough one against Maine Fort Kent on Saturday afternoon."
As coach Pena mentioned, the Knights are on the verge of heading to the 2017-2018 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The Knights' magic number to clinch a regional playoff spot is down to one. If the Knights win one of their final three conference contests – or Davis loses just one of their final five regional games – then Berkeley College will officially be in the tourney (February 17 and 18).
Five players scored in double figures for the Knights, including standout Johnnie Green, as he played about as strong a 20 minutes as someone could play, hitting on seven of his nine attempts from the floor en route to scoring a team-high 14 points. He also swatted a game-high three shots, while tying for the game-high in assists with four and steals with three. Teyvon Bussey connected on all five of his shot attempts to finish with 11 points and seven rebounds, and the speedy Foday Saccoh added 11 points and three assists. Demetri Stewart put together a versatile effort, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists, and Darius Ward added 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
Despite the loss for The King' College (NY), the Lions were led by Justin Cox, as he scored a game-high 15 points to go along with five rebounds. Benjamin Borchelt added 12 points and six rebounds, and Luke Chambers netted six points and snatched a team-high nine rebounds.
This game was never in doubt for Berkeley College. The contest was tied at seven apiece 3:49 in, but it was all Knights from there. Berkeley outscored the Lions 48-15 for the remainder of the session to take a 55-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Knights out-rebounded the Lions 36-13 and allowed just five field goals in the second half, outscoring The King's College (NY) 48-13 in the final 20 minutes to account for the 64-point victory.
Berkeley College connected on 54.3 percent of its attempts from the floor (44-81) while holding the Lions to just 12 field goals for the evening (12-for-62, 19.4 percent). The Knights dominated the glass, snatching 66 rebounds compared to 29 for The King's College (NY). Berkeley turned the ball over 17 times while forcing 26 opposition miscues, and the Knights recorded 25 assists, while the Lions tallied just four.
The Knights will return to action on Saturday afternoon, as Berkeley College will take on the University of Maine at Fort Kent. The game will take place at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, with a start-time of 3:00pm. The Bengals always seem to bring out the best in the Knights. Berkeley's last two victories over Maine Fort Kent the past two seasons were by a combined eight points, with the Knights winning 67-66 at BMCC back on January 30, 2016, before outlasting the Bengals by a score of 74-67 back on January 14, 2017.
Prior to game on Saturday, the Berkeley College Department of Athletics will take a few moments to honor five seniors - including Johnnie Green, Teyvon Bussey, Shamoree Strawn, Michael Taylor, and Mohammed Camara - in a special ceremony celebrating their years of service to the institution's men's basketball team.