Knights survive scare from Panthers, downing Albany 91-81 to advance to fifth consecutive HVIAC title game; Ayuso reaches 1,000 points for Berkeley career in win

Knights survive scare from Panthers, downing Albany 91-81 to advance to fifth consecutive HVIAC title game; Ayuso reaches 1,000 points for Berkeley career in win
 
The Berkeley College men's basketball team pulled to within one victory of capturing its fifth consecutive Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title, tonight defeating the Panthers of Albany College of Pharmacy by a score of 91-81 in the 2018-2019 tournament semifinals. The game took place at the Wellness Center on the campus of the College of New Rochelle.
 
With the triumph, the Knights won their 13th consecutive contest, improved to a mark of 20-7 on the season, and will advance to tomorrow's HVIAC championship game against either the College of New Rochelle or Davis College. The Panthers finalized their season at 10-13 with the defeat.
 
Pacing the Knights in their win was senior sharpshooter Ricardo Ayuso, as he reached the 1,000 point mark for his Berkeley career this evening by finishing with 17 points. He connected on nine of his 10 attempts from the free throw line, while also knocking down a pair of three-point attempts. Additionally, he contributed three rebounds, three steals, and three assists.
 
Deylon Bovell posted a team-high this evening of 18 points (8-8 FT). He also snatched a pair of caroms and tallied an assist. Anthony Hemingway finalized his evening with 14 points and three rebounds, and Nigel Hemingway added 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a pair of swatted shots.
 
Despite the loss for the scrappy Panthers of Albany College of Pharmacy, Naythan Beltran posted a game-high 19 points, hitting all six of his attempts from the charity striple and six of his 14 shots from the floor. He also snatched six rebounds and added three steals and a pair of assists. Thomas Chalker (9-9 FT) chipped-in with 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists, and it was Nick McKeel adding 11 points and a team-high seven boards.
 
Albany College of Pharmacy did not make it easy on the Knights. The Panthers raced out to an early 5-0 advantage in the opening 2:32 of action. Albany later held a 10-4 edge, but Berkeley raced back to eventually take a 31-24 lead. The Panthers kept things very tight, pulling to within one (34-33) as the teams entered the locker room at halftime.
 
Berkeley held just a 69-67 lead with 4:44 remaining in the game, and 76-69 with just 3:12 to go. The Knights would then connect on 12 free throws down the stretch - including 10 from Ayuso - to ice finally ice the game and put the Panthers away.
 
The Knights connected on 45.5 percent of their attempts from the floor (30-66), while the Panthers converted on 40.4 percent of their shots (23-57). Berkeley held a slight 37-35 edge in the rebounding department, while also committing 21 turnovers to the Panthers' 24. The Knights recorded 40 points in the paint compared to 28 for Albany, and the Knights tallied 18 assists to the Panthers' 12.