The Berkeley College men's basketball team improved to 7-0 on the season on Thursday evening in front of an amped-up crowd, defeating the Conquistadors of Florida National by a score of 97-70 in its home opener at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. With the win, the Knights are now 7-0 on the 2016-2017 campaign, and have won 31 consecutive contests overall dating back to last season. Florida National dipped to 2-9 with the defeat.
The Knights raced out to an early 9-2 advantage in the opening 2:19 of play. With the game tied at two apiece in the opening moments of the game, consecutive baskets by Stephon Jennings, and a three-point bucket by Jeffrey Mejia gave Berkeley a seven point lead. Later – with 11:53 remaining in the opening session – a hoop by Emmanuel Osama gave the Knights their biggest lead up to that point – a 15-7 edge.
Florida National kept the Knights on their toes, though, as the Conquistadors stayed close, cutting their deficit to two points on four different occasions over the ensuing 8:38. With 3:15 remaining in the first half, Berkeley held a slim 33-31 advantage. However, the Knights would close the period with a strong 11-4 run to head into the locker room up 44-35.
The Conquistadors would score the opening four points of the second half via Antoino Sims, but it was all Knights from there, as Berkeley College would spend the entire second stanza gradually building its lead before going on to win the game convincingly by 27 points.
In the win for Berkeley College, it was Stephon Jennings putting forth a vintage performance, scoring a team-high 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds. He also tallied four steals, and connected on six of his seven attempts from the charity stripe. Johnnie Green added 13 points to go along with three rebounds, and Paul Johnson netted 14 points in 11 minutes off the bench.
Despite the loss for Florida National, Sims scored a game-high of 26 points, while also posting game-bests of five steals and four assists. Terence Johnson added seven points and seven rebounds for the Conquistadors, and Jermohn Queen finalized his evening with six points and three assists.
The Knights connected on 53.3 percent of their attempts from the floor (32-60), while the Conquistadors hit on 35.9 percent of their attempts (23-64). Berkeley College held a slim 38-37 edge in the rebounding department, while also tallying 15 assists to the opposition's 11. The Knights committed 21 turnovers while forcing 29 Conquistador miscues, and Berkeley College connected on 63.6 percent of its attempts from beyond-the-arc (7-11) compared to 19 percent (4-21) for Florida National.
Berkeley College will look to make it a perfect 8-0 on the season on Saturday, as the Knights will take on Davis College in their Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener at the College of New Rochelle. Start-time for that game is scheduled for 3:00pm.