By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
On Feb. 4, the men’s basketball team (11-10) ended up on the short end of a 63-53 score against the University of Bridgeport (15-5) in an East Coast Conference collision at the Pratt Recreation Center.
Trailing 7-6 in the opening moments of the contest, the Pioneers pieced together a 14-4 burst in a six-minute span to capture a 20-11 advantage with 7:54 left of the half. Sophomore forward Greg Dotson sparked the run with a one-handed slam, while senior forward Tyuan Williams nailed a jumper to cap it off. As the Pioneers began to cool off from the field, they fell flat at both ends of the court, helping Bridgeport re-gain the lead into intermission.
Although the Green and Gold clawed their way back into the game, the Purple Knights began to pull away with an 11-3 surge. Junior guard Jesse Jones put the icing on the cake with a three from the wing, putting Bridgeport ahead for good.
Williams led the Pioneers in scoring for the fifth-consecutive game, racking up 14 points. He also crashed the glass for nine boards. Senior forward Charles McCann tallied 11 rebounds, six points and three blocks. Dotson collected 10 points and two rejections in 20 minutes of action off the bench. Junior guard Dillon Burns chipped in with five points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
The Pioneers returned to the court on Saturday, Feb. 7, scoring a smothering 35 points on fast breaks, which lead to an 82-68 triumph against East Coast Conference rival Dowling College (9-12) at the Pratt Recreation Center.
Leading 16-15 with 11 minutes to go in the opening stanza, the Pioneers went on a 13-2 run over a five-minute span to widen their advantage to 29-17 at the 5:55 mark. Junior guard Akosa Maduegbunam and Dotson each slammed home dunks in transition while Burns started the uproar with a three.
The Golden Lions chipped away at the double-digit deficit and narrowed the gap down to three points. However, LIU closed out the half on a quick 6-1 spurt. A reverse lay-up by Dotson gave the Pioneers a 39-31 cushion, which they carried into the locker room. Dotson registered eight points in the first 20 minutes to lead the Green and Gold in the scoring department.
Nearly four minutes into the latter stanza, the hosts held a 45-37 lead, until a 16-7 streak in a stretch of 4:28 opened the flood gates. Maduegbunam steered the court for a dunk on three separate occasions in the sequence. Senior guard P.J. Torres added six of his 16 points off the bench during the sequence.
Maduegbunam finished with 16 points on 7-of-16 shootings. Meanwhile, Torres hauled in a team-high of 11 rebounds for a double-double. Dotson amassed a game-high of 20 points, to go along with five boards and four blocks. McCann collected 10 rebounds, six points, three assists, and two steals while Burns pitched in with eight assists, six points, and four rebounds.
LIU Post shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half, propelling them to a solid 46 percent for the game. The Pioneers received a remarkable outing from their bench as they racked up 42 points.
Head Coach Erik Smiles and the Pioneers wrap up their four-game home stand today when they host Mercy College in an ECC battle at the Pratt Recreation Center. Opening tip is slated for 7.30 p.m.