BOSTON – The Suffolk men's basketball team overcame double-digit deficits in each half, but it would not be enough as the Falcons of Albertus Magnus held on for an 80-70 GNAC victory Tuesday night at Regan Gymnasium.
Matt Duquette led the Rams (2-4, 0-1 GNAC), with 25 points off a 9-of-15 performance from the floor and went 7-of-9 from the line. The senior added four boards and two helpers to his stat line. Jake Meister provided 13 points, all in the second stanza, while Caleb Unni chipped in 12 all in the first frame. Steven DiPrizio paced Suffolk on the glass as the freshman grabbed seven boards off the bench and added four points and one block.
Albertus Magnus (4-0, 2-0 GNAC), who is receiving votes in the d3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, scored more than half of its points in the paint (50-80) and received double figures showings from three different Falcons to keep their undefeated record intact. Shontaey Lovell led the way with 22 points, while Chaunce3 Dunbar and Bernard Kline recorded 15 and 11 points, respectively. The Falcons outrebounded the Rams, 42-30, and turned 12 offensive boards into 16 points.
Over the opening minutes, Suffolk and Albertus Magnus went basket-for-basket, before the visiting Falcons turned up the volume and used a run-and-gun game-plan to leap out in front, 21-9. Unni put an end to the 12-2 stretch by Albertus Magnus with a trifecta that jump started a 10-3 stretch that pulled the hosts within five, 24-19 at 8:02.
Mitch Oliver called for a timeout to regroup the Falcons, but Suffolk's comeback continued out of the break. Unni put in three free throws and Duquette swished back-to-back buckets in the lane to make it a two-point game with 5:01 minutes on the clock before the intermission.
With the Falcons ahead by six, 37-31, and time expiring in the first frame, Matt McLean made a highlight-reel behind-the-back bounce-pass to Adam Chick on the left wing. The senior captain connected on the trey to get the 256 crowd on its feet, but Martinez Luciano put in a set from the charity stripe to give Albertus Magnus a five-point lead, 39-34, heading into half time.
Over the first 20 minutes Suffolk had a 36.4 connection rate (8-22) from the floor and used a 73.7 percentage (14-19) from the line to hang with an Albertus Magnus team that went 48.3 percent (14-29) from the field and 42.9 percent (3-7) from 3-point range. Duquette lead all scorers with 13 first-half points with Unni also put up double-digits, 12.
After the break the Rams continued to chip away at the Falcons lead, but it was not until a Suffolk strung together six unanswered points that the hosts were within striking distance, 57-56. Dayron Caldwell broke up the Rams' run, but a traditional and-1 from Meister locked things at 59-all with 8:31 to play.
Suffolk went ice cold from the floor over the next five minutes and Albertus Magnus took advantage, building a 73-61 lead with under four minutes remaining. A corner jumper by Chick that ended the draught was followed by Meister's second and-1 of the evening to cut the deficit to nine, 75-66, at 2:34. The Rams did not get any closer, however, as the Falcons use the clock to their advantage to seal the 80-70 victory.
Continuing its marathon week, Suffolk travels to Providence, Rhode Island Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Johnson & Wales.