PAXTON, Mass. – Junior, Kenneth Graham (West Haven, Conn.) scored a team high 21 points to lead the Anna Maria College men's basketball team to victory over Norwich University on Saturday afternoon (81-76).
The AMCATS improve to 4-17 overall and 4-10 against league foes while the Cadets fall to 7-13 and to 4-9 against Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opponents.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The AMCATS were led by Graham who posted 21 points and seven rebounds on the day. Senior guard, David Jean-Louis (Miramar, Fla.) added 15 points in the victory and freshman Mike Rapoza (Charlton, Mass.) posted yet another double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Liam Pickett (Oxford, Mass.) and Malik Forouzan (Houston, Texas) each tallied 10 points in the victory.
Equaling a career-high mark in point scoring (21), sophomore Cadet, Daniel Haimes also posted five takeaways to set a new career record. He tied his previous personal-best figures in field goals made (7) and three-point field goals made (6). Junior Darius Bryant and classmate Mike Hogervorst scored 16 and 14 points, respectively.
HOW IT HAPPENED?
Hogervorst tied the game at nine with only 3:44 expired in the contest, but the AMCATS punished the Cadets from three-point range, outscoring Norwich by a nine-to-one margin down the stretch to take an 18-11 lead with 12:51 to go in the first half.
Junior Joe Bertrand and Haimes connected on back-to-back triples, slowing the Anna Maria momentum, but the Cadets yielded eight points in only 1:08 of play to grant the hosts a 28-21 lead with 9:28 left in the opening half. The AMCATS lead ultimately grew to 11 points, 43-32, with 58 seconds left in the first 20 minutes of action before Booth and Haimes connected from distance, cutting the Anna Maria lead to 43-38 at halftime.
The first half advantage by Anna Maria was built by edging Norwich in points scored off turnovers (11), second-chance points (10) and bench scoring (17). Both teams shot 50% from the floor, but the AMCATS controlled the glass by reeling in 21 of the game's 32 rebounds after 20 minutes.
Norwich cut the Anna Maria lead to only two points, using a 7-0 scoring run that was capped by a layup from junior Ricky Giroux with 10:23 left in regulation. Anna Maria put the game out of reach with seven-straight points, building a 66-57 lead and not looking back.
The Cadets had a chance to cut the Anna Maria lead to two points following a technical foul against the AMCATS, but Norwich made only one of its two free throws to shrink the hosts lead to 77-74. A late Hogervorst layup finally cut the Anna Maria lead to 78-76 with 18 seconds left, but the AMCATS made three of their last four foul shots.
Norwich shot an impressive 17-for-27 (63%) from the floor in the second half and outscored Anna Maria by a 26-to-12 difference in the paint, but Anna Maria was up to the task, shooting 51.9% (14-for-27) from the field to hold on to the five-point lead throughout the second half.
Anna Maria travels to Johnson & Wales (R.I) on Tuesday, February 7th for a GNAC contest starting at 7:00 p.m. Clinging to the eighth and final postseason berth with one game in hand over ninth-place Anna Maria, the Cadets will head into the final five regular season contests with a key GNAC showdown with Emmanuel (Mass.) on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. on the road.