PHILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences men's basketball team used stifling defense to lead the entirety of the first half of Saturday night's Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Semifinal against Jefferson, but the Rams used a ferocious second half start to overcome the Devils, 68-49, and advance to the Championship game.
University of the Sciences (16-13) held Jefferson scoreless for the first 3:09, and to just three points for the first 6:22, while scoring the first six points of the night.
Jefferson got as close as three on three separate occasions, including at 13-10 with 8:13 to play in the first half, but once again the Devils defense stepped up.
This time it was USciences holding the Rams scoreless for over five and a half minutes and scoring the next six points as part of a 10-2 run to take its largest lead, 23-12, when Flo Da-Silva made a layup with 1:34 left in the half.
Jefferson did however close out the half with the final four points to make the score 23-16 heading into the locker room.
That capped a half in which the Rams shot just 6-for-26 (21.3 percent).
The second half was a completely different story as Jefferson scored 16 in the first 5:34, making eight straight shots, including six 3-pointers, after an opening miss.
The final of those eight shots was a third consecutive 3-pointer, capping a 28-3 run over 7:38 of the end of the first half and beginning of the second that put the Rams ahead 40-26 with 13:26 remaining.
University of the Sciences could never recover to make it a single-digit game.
Jefferson shot 19-for-29 (65.5) in the second half, including 8-of-11 (81.8) from 3-point range.
USciences shot 37.0 percent (20-of-54) for the game, compared to Jefferson's 45.5 percent (25-of-55). The Rams made 11 3-pionters to the Devils' two. Both teams made seven free throws.
Da-Silva and Will Gregorits ended memorable USciences careers with team-highs of 18 and 16 points, respectively, with both shooting at least 50.0 percent.
Da-Silva ends his career third all-time with 225 career steals and seventh with 341 career assists, after leading the Devils with four and two, respectively, on the night. His 79 steals this season rank seventh in single-season history.
Gregorits exits sixth all-time in rebounds with 847, and he moved up one position on the all-time scoring list into 12th, ending his career with 1,484 career points.