The Berkeley College of New Jersey men’s basketball team rallied from a 10-point deficit on Tuesday evening to defeat the Patriots of Valley Forge Christian College by a score of 66-58 at the Fleisher Athletic Center on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology. This marked the first time that the Knights ever defeated the Patriots in the regular season. With the win, Berkeley improved their record to 13-9 on the season, while Valley Forge Christian College dipped to 10-7 on the 2013-2014 campaign.
In what was a wildly fast-paced opening session, the Knights battled back from deficits of 16-10 and 27-22 to take a 30-29 lead with 4:44 remaining in the half. The Patriots closed-out the first stanza strong though, putting together a 9-0 run to take an eight point (38-30) into the locker room at halftime.
Patriots freshman guard Jerome Staley opened up the scoring in the second half by hitting a jumper to give his team a 40-30 lead. Over the next 13 minutes, the Knights put forth an incredible 23-4 run to take a 53-44 lead with 6:15 remaining in regulation. During that spirited spurt, Berkeley College allowed just one field goal for their opponent. Following a Patriots timeout, Valley Forge Christian College refused to go quietly, as the Patriots used back-to-back three point baskets by senior guard Lance Harris and junior guard Kevin Mack to pull to within three points at 53-50 with 5:18 to play.
From there, the Knights put together to a 9-0 run to take a 62-50 lead and essentially ice the game. The run included two converted layups by freshman center Vince Richmond, a pair of free throws by freshman guard William Morton, and an emphatic dunk by sophomore guard Dukens Germain.
After allowing the Patriots to shoot a staggering 56 percent from the floor in the first half (14-25), Berkeley College’s defense was exceptional in the second session, holding Valley Forge Christian College to just six field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes en route to nailing-down the come-from-behind eight point victory.
Three players scored in double figures for an amped-up Knights team, including Germain who netted a team-high 15 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Richmond nailed seven of his 11 shots from the floor and dropped in 14 points to go along with five boards, and junior forward Carl O’Neil had a fine all-around performance, finalizing his evening with 10 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, and four steals.
Berkeley College held edges in many primary categories, as the Knights shot 50.9 percent from the floor for the evening (27-53) compared to 34.5 percent for Valley Forge Christian College (20-58). The Knights held a 39-31 edge in the rebounding department, and also dished 18 assists’ to the Patriots’ 11. Berkeley also converted on 11 of their 13 attempts from the charity stripe (84.6 percent) compared to just 56.3 percent for V.F.C.C. (9-16). The Patriots tallied 11 steals to the Knights’ nine, while also committing fewer turnovers than Berkeley (17 to the Knights’ 21).
Despite the loss for Valley Forge Christian College, the Patriots were paced by Mack who posted game-highs in points with 17 and steals with six. He also snatched six caroms and dished two assists. Senior guard Lance Harris contributed 11 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals, and junior guard Jean LeBlanc added 10 points.
The Knights will now enjoy six days off before returning to action on February 4 when they take to the road to battle Central Penn College. Start-time is scheduled for 8:00pm.