Washington, DC: January 5, 2011 – After going winless in its first eight games to start the season, the UDC men's basketball team (2-10) has now won two of its last four games after an 87-82 overtime victory over local rival the Washington Adventist University Shock (2-11).
The win means that UDC has now surpassed last season's win total of one, and the Firebirds now have a home record this season of 2-4. Five players scored in double figures for UDC, led by senior guard Tim Ellison (Mass Media – Alexandria, VA) and freshman forward Ziad Ashmawy (Political Science - Cairo, Egypt), who each had 16 points. Junior guard Nigel Munson (Graphic Design – Washington, DC), and sophomore guard Keith Brooks (Mass Media – Harlem, NY) each chipped in 15 points, and junior guard Brandon Herbert (Sociology – Baltimore, MD) added 11 points and 7 rebounds. Munson had a team-high10 rebounds to give him a double-double for the game, his first of the year.
The game was close throughout, as neither team ever led by more than seven points. UDC took control right off the bat thanks to Ashmawy, who made a lay-up and three-pointer within the first 45 seconds to give the Firebirds an early 5-0 lead. UDC maintained the lead until 12:45 remaining in the first half, when senior guard Eric Peguero nailed a jumper to give the Shock a 13-12 advantage. There would be three ties and two lead changes over the next four minutes, but that would be it for the half as Washington Adventist led for the final 9:19 of the first half. The score at halftime was Shock 44, Firebirds 41.
Ellison came out red-hot for UDC in the second half, scoring the Firebirds first eight points. His three-pointer with 18:14 remaining knotted up the score at 49-49, for the fourth tie of the game. In total the score would be tied 12 times in the game, including at the end of regulation, 76-76. Ellison had a chance to win the game in the final seconds for the Firebirds after a steal by Munson gave UDC the ball with six seconds remaining, however Ellison couldn't knock down an open three-pointer at the buzzer, thereby sending the game into overtime.
In the extra period UDC outscored Washington Adventist 11-6, including 6-2 in the paint and 5-0 off turnovers. It was two free-throws made by Ellison with 20 seconds left that sealed the win for the Firebirds, who are now 3-30 under second year head coach Jeff Ruland.
The leading scorer for the Shock was senior forward Khalid Martin, who had a game-high 29 points and 15 rebounds. The Shock outscored the Firebirds in the paint for the game 56-32, but UDC's bench outscored Washington's 22-13, despite being limited to just two bench players due to injuries.
The Firebirds will look to keep up the winning ways when they head down south for their next game Saturday, January 8, at West Georgia State at 3:00pm. Their next home game is Saturday, January 15, against Central St. (Ohio).