The magical run that the Berkeley College men's basketball program is on includes an 11-game winning streak culminating in a USCAA National title during the 2014-2015 season, a program-record 24-game winning streak and another National crown during the 2015-2016 campaign, and now – a 4-0 start and a victory over NCAA Division II opponent Mercy College during the 2016-2017 slate.
The Knights avenged their only loss of the 2015-2016 season on Tuesday evening, turning back Mercy College by a score of 76-72 at Westchester Community College. Berkeley College is still unblemished this season, while the Mavericks dipped to 1-5 on the year, suffering their fourth consecutive defeat.
Berkeley was paced by Massiah Merritt, as he scored a game-high 20 points, connecting on nine of his 10 attempts from the charity stripe while adding six assists and three rebounds. Johnnie Green posted a double-double, netting 17 points, snatching 10 boards and swatting two shots, and Emmanuel Osama contributed 15 points and five rebounds.
For Mercy College, it was Isaiah Cosbert dropping-in a team-high 16 points to go along with four assists. Additionally, it was Ryan Hickey knocking down three triples to finish with 15 points and six rebounds.
The Mavericks owned the opening 5:45 of this game, jumping out to an early 14-3 lead. Berkeley cut the Mercy lead to five, 20-15, with 9:43 left in the period, but the Mavericks answered with consecutive three-point baskets from Kelvin Howard to increase the lead back to double digits, 26-15, forcing a Knights timeout.
Out of the timeout, Berkeley would slice the Mercy College lead to six points, 28-22, with 3:59 remaining in the opening session. The Mavericks answered that with a 13-5 run to take their largest lead of the game, 41-27, with 36 seconds left in the stanza. A Dondre Simmons basket in the closing seconds of the period pulled the Knights to within 12 – 41-29 – as the teams entered the locker room at halftime.
A Simmons layup on Berkeley College's opening possession of the half started an 18-1 Knights run over the course of the first six minutes, as Berkeley catapulted ahead by a score of 47-42. The Mavericks' Cosbert recorded Mercy College's first field goal of the half at the 12:26 mark and Hickey added a three-point basket to knot the game at 47-47 with 11:20 remaining.
A William Robinson layup with 8:41 left made the score 51-50 in favor of the Knights. Berkeley answered that with eight straight points to take their largest advantage of the game, 59-50, with 7:18 on the clock. The Knights continued to lead by nine, 68-59, with 1:49 left before the Mavericks followed with a 9-2 run that got Mercy within two, 70-68, at the 38 second mark.
Berkeley went 3-for-4 from the free throw line to increase the lead to 73-68 with 24 seconds left. Marko Kozul made it a one possession game with 17 seconds after two successful attempts from the charity stripe, but the Knights would close the game with two of the final three points to ice the game.
The Knights will return to action on Saturday at 3:00pm, as Berkeley College will take on Bryant & Stratton (Virginia) in Virginia Beach.