PHILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences men's basketball held a double-digit first half lead over Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) South leader Goldey-Beacom, and hung with the Lightning until the end, but ultimately fell 79-73 in its home-finale in Bobby Morgan Arena on Tuesday night.
Despite the result, USciences (13-12, 9-8 CACC) still clinched a berth in its sixth consecutive CACC Tournament.
University of the Sciences held the largest lead of the night, 29-16, when Flo Da-Silva hit two free throws with 6:31 remaining in the first half, and were still leading 30-20 1:08 later before Goldey-Beacom rattled off nine unanswered in just 55 seconds to pull within one.
Despite this, the Devils clung on to the lead and were ahead 39-36 entering the locker room.
Goldey-Beacom (17-8, 13-3) scored the first five points of the second half though, beginning a stretch of seven lead changes and six ties over the first 13:19.
With the game tied for an eighth time at 60-60, the Lightning finally took the lead for good with a jumper at the 6:10 mark, beginning a stretch of five straight points.
Brandon Starr scored three consecutive points to get USciences as close as two just 1:06 later, and Brendan Crawford also hit two free throws to make the score 71-69 with 2:41 to play, but each time Goldey-Beacom had an answer.
Down six with under a minute left, Paddy Casey hit a clutch 3-pointer to bring the score to 76-73 with 50 seconds showing. The Devils played good defense on the next possession, almost coming up with a steal, only to have a contested 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock seal the victory for the Lightning.
That was the 11th 3-pointer of the night for Goldey-Beacom, which ultimately proved to play a big part in the outcome.
Despite making six more free throws, 18-12, and just three less field goals, 28-25, University of the Sciences made just five triples.
The Devils also outrebounded the Goldey-Beacom 35-29 and outscored the Lightning 23-11 in second chance points behind 13 offensive rebounds.
Crawford had five of those offensive boards en route to a career-high 12 rebounds, and the junior added 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting for the second double-double of his career.
Will Gregorits had four offensive rebounds to move into fourth in program history with 258 for his career. The senior was two boards shy of his 11th double-double of the season as he led USciences with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 7-of-8 free throws.
Casey was also in double-figures with 15 points, while Da-Silva and Starr each added nine.
Da-Silva also contributed five rebounds and game-highs of three assists and two steals.
JJ Melchior also had two steals, tying his career-high.
University of the Sciences faces its last CACC North team of the season on Saturday, Feb. 17, when it travels to Nyack for a 1 p.m. tip.