PITTSBURGH, PA – The La Roche men's basketball defended their home floor, taking down Medaille 88-77 in the AMCC Game of the Week. The Redhawks improve 16-5 overall and keep pace with Penn State Behrend at 13-1 in the AMCC.
The contest matched two of the top offenses in the AMCC and it lived up to its billing. Both teams played fast and efficiently, but the Redhawks strong play on the boards proved the difference in the early going.
RayQuan Phifer hit a transition three to give La Roche a 20-12 lead at the 12:40 mark of the first half. Medaille scored five straight but Arnes Bajgora hit a tough runner and Trell Thomas an and-1 floater to go back up four.
Momentum swung back and forth throughout the first half. Whenever it looked like the Redhawks were going to break it open, Medaille had the answer. La Roche held six point leads on three occasions but all three times Medaille got back within a basket.
La Roche entered halftime with a 39-36 lead. Both teams shot around the 50% mark and the Redhawks held an 18-12 edge on the boards. Bajgora and Thomas paced the offense with 13 points and 11 points. Phifer dished out 4 assists.
The Redhawks used hot shooting to build a 53-45 lead five minutes into the second half. Thomas opened the half with a three-pointer and Gould drained a three for La Roche's largest lead of the game.
The Redhawks' cooled and Medaille evened it up for first time since the opening basket. La Roche regrouped for four straight points but the Mavericks' Justice Fagan hit a three to get within one.
Darius Lawrence buried a three-pointer to go back up four but Fagan come back on the opposite end hit his second three in less than a minute.
Medaille's Meghale Ford gave the Mavericks their first lead of the game at the 5:23 mark. Phifer hit a pair of free throws, and following a stop, put them up three with a layup.
Medaille hit 1 of 2 free throws but a Phifer crossover and spot-up jumper made it a 75-71 lead with 3:25 left.
La Roche forced a Medaille turnover on the following possession. The Mavericks then stopped the initial La Roche layup but Bajgora came away with the putback for a 77-71 lead with three minutes left.
Medaille began to settle for jumpshots and a Thomas three pointer from the corner put La Roche up nine with 2:25 left.
The Mavericks were not done. They converted an and-1 with 1:24 left and tried to string the game out with fouls.
Medaille got it down to six, but La Roche was nearly perfect from the free throw line. Phifer and Gould stretched the lead to eleven and the Redhawks hung on for the big conference victory.
Phifer had with 24 points, 5 assists and went 9 for 12 from the free throw line. Bajgora finished just a rebound shy of a double-double with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Gould had 8 points and 9 rebounds and Thomas 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Redhawks outrebounded Medaille 41-28. They hit 17 of 23 free throws and shot 46% from the floor.
La Roche and Penn State Behrend will battle on Wednesday for the right for first place in the AMCC Conference. The Redhawks can clinch a home game with a win.