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Falcons Subdue Lions In Momentous Commonwealth Win

Chants of "defense" reigned down from the Messiah fans as the Falcons wrap up a 60-57 win. Moments before, the home team scored their 60th point to total 140 point for the Messiah teams on the night-- the result was a free Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich for everyone in attendance!

By Bryn Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
Grantham, PA - You couldn't have scripted a bigger finish to the men's-women's doubleheader against Albright College on Wednesday night.

After the women's team crushed Albright 80-36, the men's team needed to score 60 points for the entire crowd in attendance to qualify for a free Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich. With less than a minute remaining and the Falcons clinging to a slim three-point lead, junior Derek Mosley nailed the biggest shot of the day: a three pointer from the corner that sealed a Messiah victory and guaranteed each audience member their free prize.

"I'm really comfortable with him shooting that shot, " said Messiah head coach Rick Van Pelt. "He's definitely the guy you want up there, and I guess it turned out to be a big shot for a few different reasons."

Call it a redemption shot for the junior forward, who had struggled with his three point shooting over the previous four games, connecting on just three attempts before hitting three three-point field goals in Wednesday's win.

''I wish we would have made a few more shots and wouldn't have turned the ball over so many times," said Van Pelt. "Even though we won, you look back on the game and you see different things you wish you would have done a little bit better. But the bottom line is that our guys hung on, they battled, and they did enough good things to get the win."

The Falcons trailed early, as Albright College took an 11-4 lead. But Messiah rallied and scored the next 10 to take a three-point lead. The Falcons took a 35-29 lead into halftime, with sophomore Brad Bolen providing the biggest highlight of the first half: a breakaway two-handed dunk that brought the packed crowd to it's feet.

The Falcons eventually increased their lead to 54-42 with just 9:37 remaining following a three pointer by sophomore Taylor Groff. Albright cut into the lead,but Messiah still led by 10 with only 5:32 remaining.

Then Albright rallied, following the lead of Dave Singleton and his team-high 15 points. Singleton's score in the lane closed the Messiah lead to just three points before Mosley delivered the game's big blow.

Albright's Pedro Perez sunk a three to cut the deficit to 60-57 with 39 seconds remaining, creating tension for the fans in the seats. After Messiah missed a free throw in the closing seconds, Albright had one final chance, but Cornell Mickens' three bounced off the front rim as time expired.

"That was a huge win for us," said Mosley, perhaps a campus hero on the night for delivering Messiah's 140th point on the day. "Albright is a really good team and for us to close out a tight game is a great confidence builder. We just want to build and learn from each game to get better."

Sophomore Brad Bolen topped Messiah with 15 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Classmate David Fernandez scored 13, while Mosley and Groff each scored nine. Mosley also added five steals, a single-season high for a Messiah player.

The loss for Albright drops the Lions to 9-5, including 0-3 in the Commonwealth.

The victory for Messiah-- their fourth in a row, improved the team to 8-5 and 2-1 in the Commonwealth. They will remain at home for a match-up with conference rival Widener University on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

"This win gives us some confidence," Van Pelt said. "It was a great win to get, and it makes Saturday's game a very exciting opportunity for us. It's where we want to be."

Fans are reminded that Saturday's game will feature the "Downtown Deal of the Night" for Al's Pizza. For every three-pointer the Falcons hit, one fan will win a free pizza from Al's Pizza in Dillsburg! Fans are encouraged to arrive early to enter their name for a chance to win!