CRESSON, Pa. – For the first time since Franciscan University brought varsity athletics back to campus the Baron men's basketball team has won three games in a row as FUS defeated Mt. Aloysius 66-58 on the road, Wednesday night.
"This group has stayed together through a lot of adversity," remarked head coach Joe Wallace. "To be the first team to win three in a row since we brought back basketball is a high accomplishment."
Trailing 29-25 at halftime, junior Keoni Sablan and freshman Michael Mendicino sandwiched a pair of jumpers around a Mountie free throw to trim the Mt. Aloysius lead to one point, 30-29 with 19:18 to play. Freshman Josh York made a jumper and a pair of free throws to give Franciscan its first lead of the second half, 33-30, with 17:33 to play.
After an 8-1 run by the Mounties to give the home team a 38-35 lead. Freshman Aaron Foldi and Mendicino combined for five points to cut he Mountie lead to 40-39 before York hit a jumper to give the lead back to Franciscan, 41-40. Franciscan continued to build on its lead held the advantage from the 10:32 mark until there was 1:24 to play when Mt. Aloysius took a 58-56 lead.
Sablan hit a deep three when the Barons got the ball back to give the lead back to Franciscan, 59-58, and the Barons pushed their lead to 55-58 thanks to four points from freshman Matt Trent and Foldi to seal the win for Franciscan.
"Josh (York) and Matt (Trent) were the difference makers out there tonight," complimented Coach Wallace. "Both of them are freshman and both to get double-doubles is great."
Trent finish with his second-straight double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds while York finished with added 13 points to his 11 rebounds. Sophomore Juwan Perkins added 14 points for the Barons and Mendicino dished out four assists with his nine points.
"It was nice to see Juwan back to his normal self out there today. He played a really nice all around game," remarked Coach Wallace.
The Barons and Mounties engaged in a back and forth battle in the first with the Mounties pulling away for a 29-25 point lead at the break.
"I have to give credit to our coaching staff and players," said Coach Wallace following the game. "I have been really sick and missed practice yesterday. Coach Sean, Tommy, Pizzuti, and coach Yao have helped keep our guys focused."
After being out-shot 28.6% (10-35) to 38.5% (10-26) in the first half, the Barons responded in the second and shot 14-30 (46.7%) in the second to lead Franciscan to victory.
"We are beat up and still fighting," said Coach Wallace. "We are fighting off a lot of sickness right now but our toughness won us this game and I am extremely proud of this family."
The Barons wrap up their season on Saturday as they head to Medaille for a 4pm tip off.