The Berkeley College of New York men’s basketball team won their fifth straight game in thrilling fashion Friday evening, completing an incredible comeback to defeat the Patriots of Valley Forge Christian College by a score of 83-82 in Phoenixville, PA. With the win, the Knights improved to 10-7 on the season, while the Patriots dipped to 10-8, losing their second straight.
Things looked extremely bleak for the Knights late in the game, as Berkeley trailed Valley Forge Christian College by a score of 81-70 with just 1:45 remaining in the contest. Sophomore guard Keenan Langston began Berkeley’s comeback by nailing three consecutive free throws to pull his team to within eight points at 81-73. A three-point basket 26 seconds later by senior Richard Rampersad cut the Patriots’ lead to five points at 81-76 with 1:11 remaining. A pair of free throws by senior center Elijah Craig brought the Knights to within three points – 81-78 – as the clock bled to just under a minute remaining.
Valley Forge Christian’s Jean LeBlanc connected on one-of-two attempts from the charity stripe with 19 seconds remaining to put his team up by four, but Berkeley inched closer to the Patriots when senior guard Jovan Bovell knocked down a three-point basket with 16 seconds to go. A crucial turnover by VFC’s Tony Hazzard then allowed Bovell to nail a layup with two seconds remaining to give Berkeley an 83-82 advantage – a lead the Knights would not relinquish. Following the game, Knights Head Coach Chris Christiansen gave his thoughts on his team’s heart.
“Tonight, I believe our team showed a tremendous amount of character and heart,” Christiansen said. “We were behind by double digits with less than two minutes remaining, and it could have been very easy for our men to concede defeat, but they continued to battle and ultimately were able to put together a 13-1 run to end the game. I’m extremely proud of their grit and determination, and hopefully this will be a confidence builder for us as we get ready for the final five games of our regular season,”
In a winning effort for the Knights, Langston led all scorers with 25 points to go along with eight rebounds and three steals, and Bovell posted a double-double, as he hit the game-winning basket and finalized his evening with 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Craig capped his night with 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, and freshman center Ahmed Dickerson added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Despite the loss for the Patriots, Valley Forge Christian College had five players score in double figures, including Mack who netted a team-high 19 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists, and four steals. LeBlanc dropped in 18 points, and senior guard Lance Harris scored 16 points, dished a game-high eight assists, snatched four caroms and tallied three steals. Guards Emanuel Toms and Antonio Malone contributed 11 points apiece.
The Knights held a dominating edge in the points-in-the-paint department, scoring 40 to the Patriots’ 20. Berkeley also snatched 32 rebounds to Valley Forge Christian College’s 22, and the Knights shot 45 percent from the floor (31-68) compared to just 36.2 percent for the Patriots (25-69). Valley Forge Christian College held edges in assists (18 to Berkeley’s 10), and Steals (13 to the Knights’ seven).
Berkeley College will return to the hardwood Monday evening as the Knights will host Pratt Institute at the College of New Rochelle. Start-time for the contest is scheduled for 6:00pm.