JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The Susquehanna men’s basketball team failed to go into its holiday break with a win, falling 62-51 at New Jersey City on Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md./Salisbury Prep) was the lone SU player in double figures, tallying 20 points, 18 of which came from three-point range. He also added seven assists and two steals.
Susquehanna (3-7) committed 21 turnovers and shot a mere 57 percent at the free throw line while NJCU (3-7) sank 72 percent of its free throws and shot 46 percent from the floor.
What had been a double-digit first-half lead for Susquehanna had disappeared by halftime. Josh Miller’s (Strasburg, Pa./Lampeter Strasburg) layup at 11:35 made it 16-6 in favor of the Crusaders. It took another two minutes for another point to be scored from either team before a New Jersey City layup from Khalid Muhammad made it 16-10.
SU was able to maintain a six-point lead (21-15) with 5:16 remaining in the half but six unanswered Gothic Knights points knotted it at 21 all with 2:28 on the clock. With time ticking down the score was knotted at 23-23 with just 39 seconds left to play before two Spencer Ortmyer (York, Pa./Central York) free throws marked the final points of the half and gave the Crusaders a 25-23 halftime advantage.
NJCU went on a 14-4 run to open the second of play and go up 37-29 after just over minutes of action in the period. It was a lead the team would not relinquish.
SU still trailed by nine (41-32) at the 12:44 mark before seven unanswered Susquehanna points trimmed the lead to four (43-39) just two minutes later. Inside the six-minute mark of the game, the Crusaders were back down by nine points, 50-41, and struggling to find the basket until an Ortmyer free throw with 5:01 on the clock made it 50-42. Unfortunately NJCU continued to counter with buckets of its own and maintained a 53-44 lead as the clock dipped under three minutes.
Wally Rutecki’s (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) layup made it a 53-46 game with 2:33 to play but the team fell into a 12-point hole (58-46) after a Muhammad three-point play followed by a Drew Marley jumper at the 1:52 mark of the half.
As the clock hit one minute, Susquehanna found itself down by 15 (61-46) and ran out of time to mount any sort of comeback.
The Crusaders are off until they travel to Johns Hopkins to compete in the two-day Blue Jay Invitational beginning Jan. 2 with a 5 p.m. against Marymount (Va.).
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