Washington, DC: February 22, 2011 – The UDC men's basketball team (11-14) closed out the home portion of their season tonight with an 88-81 win over the Fairmont Sate University Fighting Falcons (15-9).
The win gave UDC an 8-4 record at home this season, which is a seven win improvement over last season. The Firebirds have now won 10 of their last 14 games overall, including seven in a row at the UDC sports complex.
The key to tonight's victory was the team's shooting from the field, especially from long range. Led by senior guard Tim Ellison's (Mass Media – Alexandria, VA) five made three-pointers, the Firebirds shot 52.4% (11 of 21) from downtown for the game. That translated into shooting 56.4% (31 of 55) from the floor, which helped the Firebirds overcome being out-rebounded by the Falcons 42-30.
Ellison, who was playing in his final home game as a Firebird after spending four seasons with the team, ended up with 18 points and a team-high 7 rebounds. He is now just 14 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Over his time at UDC he has led the Firebirds in most field goals made (330), most three-pointers made (135), most free-throws made (191), most steals (52), and most games played (69).
While Ellison continued to show why he has been such a valuable member of the Firebirds over the past four seasons, there were others who stepped up as well to help UDC go out on top in its home finale. Junior guard Brandon Herbert (Sociology – Baltimore, MD) led the team in scoring for a sixth straight game, and the seventeenth time this season with 28 points on 10 of 13 shooting from the field. Junior guard Nigel Munson (Graphic Design – Washington, DC) added 19 points and 6 assists, while sophomore forward Dyrek Jones (Accounting – Brooklyn, NY) matched his season-high with 14 points.
Despite those impressive numbers, the game was tied going into halftime, 45-45. It was not until the Falcons were up by one with 16:53 remaining in the game that the Firebirds started to open things up. Propelled by three treys, UDC went on a 17-2 run over the next four and a half minutes to take a double-digit lead. They would be able to sustain that double-digit lead all the way until the 3:00 mark, when Fairmont state mounted an impressive run of its own to cut the lead to just two points. However, good free-throw shooting by the Firebirds and poor long distance shooting by the Falcons kept them from ever retaking the lead, allowing UDC to close out its home schedule on a high-note.
Leading the way for Fairmont State in scoring was sophomore guard Isaac Thornton, who had 25 points. Junior guard Steve Custis added 21 points, and senior Terrence Green had 18 points and 10 boards. The Falcons shot 40.0% (28 of 70) from the field and 22.6% (7 of 31) from three-point range.
UDC will look to build upon its current three-game win streak when it travels to Wilberforce, OH for its season finale Saturday, February 26, at Central State. Game time is 3:00pm EST.