The Berkeley College men's basketball team took on Central Penn in Summerdale, PA on Saturday in a contest that served as a rematch of the 2015-2016 USCAA National Men's Basketball championship game. Central Penn was looking for a small measure of revenge, hoping to halt the Knights' 26-game overall winning streak dating back to last season. However – it was Berkeley College once again coming out on top – defeating Central Penn in a hard-fought contest by a score of 94-85.
Berkeley has now won a program record 27 consecutive games – and has not dropped a contest since the 2015-2016 season opener at Mercy College back on November 13, 2015.
In the Knights' two victories over Central Penn a season ago, Berkeley rallied from 17-point and eight-point deficits, respectively, to claim victory. In today's contest, Central Penn raced out to an early 9-0 advantage in the opening 2:28, and trailed by as many as 20 points – 35-15 – with 6:33 remaining in the opening session.
A spirited 15-2 run over the ensuing 4:51 – featuring five points from Ricardo Ayuso, four points apiece from Stephon Jennings and Johnnie Green, and another basket by Dondre Simmons – pulled the Knights to within seven points at 37-30. Berkeley College trailed by six – 38-32 – as the teams headed to the locker room for halftime.
In the early stages of the second half, Central Penn held a 47-40 lead, but Berkeley College stormed back with 10 consecutive points to grab a 50-47 advantage. That 10-0 run included a three-point basket by Simmons, a hoop by Jennings, and five points from offensive standout Massiah Merritt.
The teams traded the lead four times over the ensuing 4:30, with Berkeley College taking the lead 58-55 when freshman Paul Johnson connected on a three-point basket with 11:30 remaining in the game. Berkeley College would eventually push that lead to seven points at 67-60, but a 9-2 Central Penn run – capped by a triple by Daylin Davis – knotted the game at 69 apiece.
At the 6:41 mark, Berkeley College would finally take the lead for good on a converted layup by Jeffrey Mejia. That put the Knights ahead by a score of 71-69 with 6:41 to go. The Knights would build their lead up to as many 13 points before eventually winning the game by nine.
Leading the way for Berkeley College was Simmons, as he put together a phenomenal performance with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting to go along with two assists and two steals. Johnnie Green added 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and Merritt and Jennings scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Central Penn was paced by Tyrie Orosco who scored a team-high 22 points while connecting on all 10 of his shots from the floor. He also added seven rebounds and three steals as well. Davis and Rafeeq Bush added 11 points apiece, and Tyree Tucker had a versatile performance, as he scored 10 points, recorded a game-high eight steals, dished a game-high seven assists, and snatched eight rebounds.
Berkeley connected on 54.1 percent of its attempts from the floor (33-61) compared to 47.8 percent for Central Penn (32-67). Berkeley held an edge in the rebounding department (37-31), while also winning the turnover battle (the Knights committed 20 miscues while forcing 26). The rebounds were tied at 44 apiece.
Berkeley College will next take on Mercy College on Tuesday evening at 7:00pm at Westchester Community College. The Knights will look to keep their 27-game overall winning streak alive against the team that dealt them their last defeat more than one calendar year ago.