Tomcats Hand Presidents First Conference Defeat
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Thiel limited Washington & Jefferson to 21 second-half points and defeated the Presidents 57-48 in Presidents' Athletic Conference men's basketball action from Beeghly Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
W&J dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-1 in PAC play, while Thiel remained unbeaten at 5-0 and 2-0 in the PAC.
After a back-and-forth opening 17 minutes that featured four ties and six lead changes, a quick 5-0 Presidents' spurt helped put W&J in front. Sophomore Mike Resnik (White Oak, Pa./McKeesport) sank a layup and junior Brett Rubin-Goldstein (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) followed with a three-pointer to give W&J a 26-21 edge.
Kamran McCaskill provided the answer for the Tomcats by draining four free throws during the final 1:27 of the first half to cut the lead to 27-25 at the break.
Thiel knocked down six of its first 11 second-half shots and limited the Presidents to seven points during the opening 13 minutes to take control of the game. A pair of free throws from R.J. Brownlee opened up a 13-point Tomcats' lead before a triple from Resnik broke a scoring drought of nearly four minutes for W&J.
Resnik's three-pointer sparked a 12-4 run to bring the Presidents within five (51-46); however, McCaskill laid in a basket and made all four of his free throws during the final minute to secure the game for the Tomcats.
McCaskill led all scorers with 22 points, including 16 from the free-throw line. Brownlee added 13 points, while Ladell Trotty tallied 10 points and nine rebounds. Thiel hit 25-of-36 attempts from the free-throw stripe and held a 44-27 rebounding edge.
Senior R.J. Pilato (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) was the lone President in double figures with 11 points. Resnik added nine points, while Rubin-Goldstein tallied eight. W&J, which shot 34 percent (17-49) from the field and made just 9-of-17 free throws, played without leading rebounder Nate Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) who missed the game due to an injury suffered Wednesday night against Westminster. The team's leading scorer, senior Zach Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry), was held to one field goal and four points.
The Presidents will look to rebound against Saint Vincent on Wednesday at the Henry Memorial Center at 6:00 pm in the first game of a conference doubleheader.