Messiah Pulls Ahead Of Eastern In Second Half, Collects Victory
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with Bryn Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
Behind an impressive 50% shooting percentage (26-of-52), including 43.5% on three-pointers (10-of-23), the Falcons defeated Eastern University 74-64 to even its record at .500 this season (4-4).
The win may have helped take away the bitter taste left from Tuesday's 74-73 overtime loss to PSU Harrisburg.
Sophomore Brad Bolen led the Falcons with a game-high and career-high 23 points. He connected on 8-17 shots from the floor, including an impressive 5-8 from behind the three point line. He also topped both squads with 12 rebounds, including 11 defensive boards. Bolen's success was especially welcomed because he had struggled in the previous two games (two points, five personal fouls across 31 minutes combined).
"I knew I had to step up and start doing whatever I could to help the team succeed," Bolen said. "I had a talk with Coach and realized I just need to have confidence in myself."
From the beginning of the game, the teams traded buckets and the Falcons held a 12-11 lead six minutes into the game. But they pulled away, scoring the next 11 points- nine by Bolen, on a pair of three pointers, a layup, and a free throw.
Eastern climbed back into the game, pulling within three (29-26) just before halftime. But the Falcons scored 11 of the next 13 to take a commanding 11-point lead, highlighted by a three pointer from junior Derek Mosley with just two seconds left in the first half.
The Falcons increased their lead in the second half to 61-38 and, after opposing a rally by the Eagles late in the second half, found themselves a 74-64 victory.
Besides Bolen's 23 points, Derek Mosley scored 18, including four three's, and grabbed six boards. Sophomore David Fernandez scored 14 and dished out six assists, giving him 44 total points in the last two games.
On defense, the Falcons held Eastern to just 19-61 shooting (31.1%), including an anemic 2-12 on three pointers. Michael Donatoni and Martin Soaries topped Eastern with 17 points apiece on a combined 10-30 shooting.
"We really needed this game to get back on track," Derek Mosley said. "We have lost a couple of overtime games this year because we haven't gotten defensive stops at key times in the game. So we really wanted to have a strong defensive game today because that's what is going to win games."
The victory definitely gives the Falcons some much-needed momentum after suffering heartbreaking last-second overtime losses to both PSU Harrisburg and Lebanon Valley over their previous three games. They now stand at 4-4, with a week before their next game: a Saturday 4:00 p.m. contest against Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.