WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team earned its 4th straight victory, 88-75 vs. visiting Nyack College in East Region non-conference play Saturday afternoon at UDC Gym.
The Firebirds improved to 4-2 overall and 3-1 vs. the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) with today's win. Nyack falls to 0-5 on the season with the loss.
UDC, which trailed only twice in the game and never by more than two, featured all five of its starters in double-figures scoring. Junior transfer forward Aaren Smith led the Firebirds offensively with 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 at the line. He also pitched in four rebounds and three assists.
A very balanced scoring effort by UDC also included senior guard Quadire Truesdale with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists, junior guard Kerry Kirkwood with 14 points and four rebounds, and sophomore forward Fatir Hines with 13 points, six rebounds and two steals.
The Firebirds out-shot their guests, 54-percent to 47-percent from the field, and 84-percent to 56-percent at the free-throw line. UDC took seven more free throw attempts (25-18) and more than doubled-up the Warriors, 21-10 in free throws made.
Nyack, who has lost to four different East Coast Conference teams this season, had two scorers reach double-figures, including a game-high 18-point effort by Kenneth Ford. Gemaal Davis, meanwhile, hauled in a game-high seven rebounds to go with 14 points scored.
Davis scored the first bucket of the game nearly a minute into the action to give the Warriors what would be their largest lead of the game, 2-0. Hines scored seven of UDC's first points to help the Firebirds race out to an early 9-4 advantage, and they never trailed the rest of the way.
Leading 11-9 just past the 15-minute mark in the 1st half, Truesdale converted a layup to kickstart a 9-2 bust by UDC to open up a nine-point Firebirds cushion, 20-11, approaching the 13-minute mark.
Over the next seven minutes, however, Nyack went on a 13-3 run highlighted by Joel Bailey's five points and back-to-back layups by Shawn Witherspoon to help the Warriors claim its first lead since the opening minute of play, 24-23.
UDC responded right back, though, out-scoring Nyack, 15-7 for the remaining six minutes of the first half, with Truesdale burying a three-pointer in the final seconds before the halftime horn. The Firebirds led, 38-31, at intermission.
The hosts came out on fire to start the 2nd half, out-scoring their guests 17-6 over the first four-and-a-half minutes once play resumed. The run was highlighted by three Kerry Kirkwood three-pointers, propelling the Firebirds in front, 55-37 with 15:28 left to play.
Twice, UDC led by as many as 19, including a 64-45 advantage around the 9:30 mark following a three-pointer by freshman guard Juanye Colon. Still a 16-point Firebird lead around the 7:30 mark, the Warriors went on a tear over the next six minutes, out-scoring UDC, 20-8 over that span, and cutting the deficit to just four, 79-75 with about 1:30 left in regulation.
Head coach Mike Riley's veteran squad, which features 10 upperclassmen on a roster of 12, managed to regain its composure, however, and finished the game on a 9-0 run. As a result, UDC went on to win comfortably by a 13-point margin, 88-75.
Next up, UDC will visit Philadelphia to take on another CACC squad, Chestnut Hill College, on Saturday, December 1st at 3 p.m.