DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – The Manhattanville men's basketball team shot nearly 60 percent from the floor and rode strong second-half performances from seniors Trevoy Pointer (Dallas, Texas/Skyline) and Armani Blackmon (Plano, Texas/Plano East) to a well-earned 83-79 victory over Delaware Valley in a Freedom Conference matchup on Wednesday evening.
Manhattanville received meaningful contributions from all 12 players that saw the court on Wednesday night, either on the offensive or defensive end. Pointer had a team-leading 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to pace the team offensively. Blackmon added 18 points thanks to 5-of-8 shooting from the field and perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the line, while also adding a game-high eight rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Fellow senior Jeff Ventura (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cypress Bay) added 11 points as the third Valiant in double figures, while freshman Wills Flynn (Miami, Fla./Westminster Christian) made the most of his first career start by dishing out eight assists, the most by a Valiant this season, to go with three rebounds and three points. Senior Ivan Jovicic (Belgrade, Serbia/Sports HS Belgrade) added nine points and classmate Jack Railton-Woodcock (Melbourne, Australia/Scotch College) had eight and five rebounds off the bench as well.
For Delaware Valley, Nathan Bollinger led all scorers with 25 points, followed by Daulton Derr who had 15 of his 20 in the second half. Jeremy Beckett also added 18 points for the home team despite battling foul trouble all night and eventually fouling out with six minutes left.
The Valiants won the game thanks largely to some excellent shooting all night long from all areas of the court. The team shot an excellent 58.3 percent (28 for 48) from the field, an even 50.0 percent (8 of 16) from the line, and a superb 19 of 20 (95.0 percent) from the charity stripe to pick up the victory.
Despite 14-of-25 percent shooting in the first half, Manhattanville still trailed for most of the first 20 minutes of play thanks in large part to the play of Beckett, who had 15 points to lead all scorers at the half, and Bollinger, who added nine of his own.
The Aggies went into the half with a slim 41-40 advantage and the lead changed on five straight possessions early in the second half, the last time coming on a layup by Railton-Woodcock with 17:35 remaining that put the visitors up 47-46.
The visitors eventually built up its lead to as many as seven points on a pair of occasions, the first coming on a Pointer layup with 12:37 remaining and the last coming on a bucket from sophomore Colin Campbell (Miami, Fla./LaSalle) that gave the team a 62-55 lead with 11:18 on the clock. But after a Derr layup and two free throws by Bollinger, the lead never grew higher than four points the rest of the way.
Delaware Valley managed to tie the score with 8:39 left before sophomore Jack Bramswig (Pleasantville, N.Y./Pleasantville) poured in back-to-back layups to put the visitors back ahead by four, and Manhattanville scored on three straight possessions after that to retain its four-point lead until four straight Derr points knotted the score again at 72-all with 3:03 left.
Two Ventura freebies and a clutch Pointer jumper put the Valiants back up four again entering the final 90 seconds of play, and after a Derr three closed the gap to one again, Blackmon was fouled and stepped to the line to hit two big free throws to give MVille an 80-77 edge. Bramswig made one free throw to soon after to give the visitors a two-point edge at 81-79, but with the shot clock turned off Blackmon grabbed a huge rebound off a Nate Lewis miss and then clinched the game with two free throws with five seconds left, giving the Valiants a big conference victory.
Manhattanville (8-8, 2-3 Freedom) will return to Kennedy Gym on Saturday, as the Valiants host King's (Pa.) beginning at 3 p.m., with the GoValiants.TV video broadcast set to begin at 2:50 p.m. Delaware Valley (2-13, 0-5 Freedom) will travel to Misericordia on Saturday for a 3 p.m. start.