DOYLESTOWN (PA) – Delaware Valley University nearly rallied from a 19-point, second-half deficit, but saw its 14-game home winning streak come to an end as Misericordia University held on for a 79-78, Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom victory.
DelVal, which earlier in the day found out it was regionally ranked (seventh in the Atlantic) for the first time in program history, dropped its third straight game and fell out of first place in the conference for the first time all season. At 16-6 overall and 7-4 in league action, the Aggies are now one game behind DeSales and just one game ahead of the three-way tie at third between Misericordia (12-10, 6-5), Manhattanville and Wilkes. Three games remain in the regular season and the top four teams advance to the conference tournament.
Eleven days earlier, DelVal trailed Eastern by 17 at halftime before rallying for an improbable, two-point win as Barry Brockington hit a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining. This time, the Aggies were down 19 with less than 10 minutes remaining, but had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead in the final 10 seconds. However, the Cougars held on to hand DelVal its first loss in James Work Gymnasium since January 28, 2015 when Misericordia hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer.
It didn't look like it was going to come down to the end of the game after Jamie Egan drained a trey with 9:42 left to give the Cougars a 64-45 advantage. They were still up 14, 69-55, four minutes later before the Aggies made their run. Brockington hit two free throws and Chris Moran added one. Moran then had a monster, alley-oop jam that made 69-60 with 4:14 to go.
Misericordia scored four of the next six to put its advantage made into double digits, but the Aggies went on a 7-1 run to make it a 74-69 ballgame with 1:04 remaining. Alec Rodway hit one free throw for the Cougars, but Brockington hit from downtown with 55 second to go to make it a one-possession contest. Rodway had a shot blocked by Tyrea Williams and Tyliek Kimbrough sneaked inside for a layup to pull DelVal to within one, 75-74, with 27 seconds remaining.
Misericordia's Griffin Sponaugle was fouled with 18 ticks left and the junior hit just one of two from the line, giving DelVal a chance to tie or take the lead. Brockington drove and pulled up into the paint, but James Hawk was there to block the shot and Sponaugle grabbed the defensive rebound while being fouled with five seconds remaining. He hit both free throws, but Kimbrough was fouled a second later. He hit one of two free throws and Erik Kerns was then sent to the line for the Cougars with three seconds on the clock. He missed the first but hit the second to seal the win. DelVal's Andre' Butler hit a halfcourt shot at the buzzer for the 79-78 final.
Misericordia overcame foul trouble in the first half to take a 37-31 lead into the break. The Cougars then hit six 3-pointers in the first 10-plus minutes to help increase its lead to 19. DelVal made the late push, but ran out of time.
The Cougars finished with nine treys in the game and shot 43.8 percent from the field while turning the ball over just nine times. Rodway finished with 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Sponaugle went for 13 points while Egan, Kerns and Tyler McGarry had 10 points apiece.
DelVal had a 52-37 advantage on the boards, including 22 on the offensive end which led to 23 second-chance points. However, the team managed to hit just eight of 34 attempts (23.5%) from 3-point lead and were just 16-for-27 (57.1%) from the foul line. Brockington finished with 23 points and six rebounds while Moran had 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists before fouling out. Butler and Matthew Gerner came off the bench to score 11 and 10 points respectively while combining for 12 rebounds.
DelVal will host Wilkes on Saturday, February 13 (3:00 p.m.).