ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY - The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team had four scorers in double-figures as the Firebirds cruised past East Coast Conference foe Molloy College, 78-65 on Wednesday night at Quealy Gym.
"I thought this was one of our better defensive games tonight," head coach Jeff Ruland said. "I was particularly proud of our guards' defensive play, and I thought this was one of Dyrek [Jones] and Ziad Ashmawy's better games."
Senior guard Nigel Munson (Washington, DC - DeMatha HS) led all scorers with 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field and also handed out a game-high six assists. Fellow senior guard Brandon Herbert (Baltimore, MD - McDonough HS) had 20 points, Ziad Ashmawy (Cairo, Egypt, American City HS) pitched in with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Dishawn Bradshaw (Baltimore, MD - St. Frances HS) had 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Firebirds were once again outdone on the boards, losing the rebounding battle 43-35, but made up for it with 49-percent field goal shooting and superb ball control (13 assists, eight turnovers). They also forced 16 Molloy mistakes and cashed them in for 15 points. Senior forward Dyrek Jones (Brooklyn, NY - Bedford Academy) was UDC's defensive catalyst with game-highs of six blocks and three steals.
Molloy was led by Jimmy Nolan with 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Nolan, who came into the game shooting a league-best 44-percent from the field, was held in check from long-range, only putting up six attempts and making three. Richard Zoller and Matt McLeod also scored 11 and 10, respectively while Dariel Concha had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points.
Concha scored the first points of the game on a jumper a little over one minute into the action, but that would be Molloy's one and only lead of the night. Consecutive layups by Bradshaw put the Firebirds up for good, and four straight points by Munson would give UDC a 12-5 advantage just past the 13-minute mark. The visitors extended their lead to double-digits on a three-pointer by Munson at the 8:22 mark, and led by as many as 13 before a layup by Molloy's John Petrucelli at the buzzer made it 43-32 as the two squads went to the locker rooms for halftime.
The Firebirds, who came into the game 9-0 when leading at halftime, scored the first four points of the second half, and never looked back. They maintained a double-digit advantage the entire second half, extending their lead to as many as 23 before allowing Molloy to close the game out on a 12-2 run over the final three minutes to make the score respectable.
UDC is back in action on Saturday, January 28th at 3:00 p.m. as the Firebirds host St. Thomas Aquinas for Youth Day at the UDC Gym. Fans who cannot make the game can view a live video webcast via www.udcfirebirds.com.