SLIPPERY ROCK, PA – The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team earned a 64-59 victory vs. host Slippery Rock University on Saturday afternoon in NCAA Division II non-regional action at Morrow Field House.
The Firebirds (2-2) have now won back-to-back games after starting the season 0-2, and SRU falls to 1-3 on the season with today's loss.
UDC guards Danny Shand and Zachary Olukanni led the Firebirds' offensive charge with 14 points apiece. Shand also contributed five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Olukanni, who's pair of free-throws with only 29 seconds remaining, iced the win for the Firebirds, also collected eight rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot.
Junior transfer forward Aaren Smith flirted with a double-double as he registered eight points and a game-high nine rebounds, and senior point guard Quadire Truesdale pitched in five points, four steals and three assists in 32 minutes played.
The Rock leaned heavily on the game's leading scorer, forward Micah Till, who scored 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 shooting at the foul line. He also had six rebounds, a game-high three blocked shots, and two steals.
Both teams took some time to get going offensively, but it was UDC that found its way first and ran out to what would be its largest lead of the day, 11-4. The run was highlighted by a three-pointer apiece by Shand and Truesdale.
At that point, however, SRU took the game over with a 21-4 blitz over the next eight-and-a-half minutes, and claimed its largest lead of the day, 25-15 with 6:30 to play in the opening half. But back came the Firebirds, out-scoring The Rock, 18-8, and cutting the 10-point deficit to three, 31-28, on another three-pointer by Shand with 1:34 remaining. SRU scored the final four points of the half and took a 35-28 lead into halftime.
The Firebirds came out red-hot in the 2nd half, opening the closing frame on a 12-1 burst, highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers by Shand and junior transfer guard Kerry Kirkwood. The three-pointer by Kirkwood at the 17:14 mark put UDC ahead by four, 40-36.
The lead would change hands six more times over the next 12 minutes, but a jumper by Shand at the 5:31 mark put UDC in front to stay, 57-56. The Firebirds went on to make 3-of-4 at the foul line in the final minute of regulation, including a clutch pair by Olukanni with 29 seconds remaining to ice the victory, 64-59.
Next up, UDC will host its season home opener on Tuesday, November 20th vs. Goldey-Beacom College. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.