March 8, 2008

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Philadelphia University earned a 73-67 double-overtime triumph over Holy Family University to claim the 2007-08 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Saturday evening in Philadelphia. Ram sophomore point guard Russell Frederick was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.

Sophomore swingman Marcus Lemon knocked down two clutch three-pointers in the second overtime session to lead the Rams to the victory in front of a raucous standing-room only crowd at The Gallagher Center.

With the win, Philadelphia has garnered the CACC's automatic bid into the 2007-08 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championship. The Rams will be a part of the tournament's Northeast Region, and the pairings for the entire 64-team field will be announced Sunday night between approximately 10:30 and 11:30 p.m.

Holy Family grabbed early command of the contest, connecting on four of their first five field-goal attempts while the Rams missed their first five shots, resulting in an 8-0 Tiger run to open the action. A layup from senior guard Ryan Lancaster at the 16:27 mark put the Tigers up 10-1 for their largest lead of the night.

Philadelphia regrouped during the middle portion of the opening period, and with 6:51 remaining in the half, sophomore forward Malcolm Ingram scored on a fast-break layup to knot the game for the first time, at 22 apiece, and the tug-of-war was officially underway. The Rams took their first lead of the night moments later when another Ingram layup put Philadelphia ahead 25-23 with 4:18 left. The score was again tied at 27-27 with 2:16 to go before the Rams scored the final four points of the half, taking a 31-27 lead into the locker room.

The tooth-and-nail flow of the game continued and became even more prominent in the second half, when neither team would lead by more than four points at any time in the final 20 minutes of regulation.

With Holy Family leading, 51-48, Ram Head Coach Herb Magee called timeout with 27 seconds left to set up a play for the Rams. Russell Frederick inbounded the ball to Lemon, who passed to junior guard Mike Dunn on the left wing. Dunn squared to the basket and his shot caromed off the backboard and into the net for an improable bank-shot game-tying three-pointer with :22 ticks left on the clock.

The Tigers called a timeout of their own to set up a game-winning play. With four seconds left in regulation, senior forward London Houston let go of a jumper that fell short and the teams were headed to overtime tied at 51.

Lancaster hit one of two foul shots with a minute left in the first overtime to put the vistors ahead 59-57, but Ingram calmly hit two free-throws with 22 ticks left on the clock. As in regulation, the Tigers had a chance to end the game at the buzzer but senior guard Michael Sturns missed a layup attempt with two seconds left. The Rams called a timeout with eight tenths of a second left, and a desperation heave by sophomore forward Mike Yocum fell short.

Junior guard Ceazer Johnson commenced scoring in the second overtime session by hitting one of two from the charity stripe, after which the Rams finally got some control of the contest when Lemon drained his two huge 3-point field goals to put the home team up five. Frederick then connected on a jumper with 1:31 remaining to put Philadelphia ahead 67-60. Seconds later, Sturns missed a three that was corralled by Frederick, and the Tigers were forced to foul. Frederick hit one of two to give the Rams an eight-point lead, their largest of the night, with under a minute to play.

From there, Frederick and Ingram sealed the 73-67 marathon from the charity stripe.

Sturns led all scorers with 29 points and he added 10 rebounds. Houston and Lancaster also reached double-figures with 10 points each. Ingram led the Rams with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, while senior Jason Hickenbottom added 14 points and nine boards. Frederick contributed 13 points and four assists and Lemon finished with 12 points.

CACC Tournament Quarterfinals, Saturday, March 1

South #1 Philadelphia 65, South #4 USP 44

South #2 Holy Family 73, South #3 Goldey-Beacom 71

North #4 Bloomfield 90, North #1 Post 85 (2 OT)

North #2 Caldwell 79, North #3 Dominican 65

CACC Tournament Semifinals, Wednesday, March 5

South #1 Philadelphia 88, North #4 Bloomfield 74

South #2 Holy Family 55, North #2 Caldwell 53

CACC Championship, Saturday, March 8

South #1 Philadelphia 73, South #2 Holy Family 67 (2 OT)

All-Tournament Team

Russell Frederick, Philadelphia-MVP

Malcolm Ingram, Philadelphia

Marcus Lemon, Philadelphia

Michael Sturns, Holy Family

Ryan Lancaster, Holy Family

Manny Perez, Caldwell

Omari Knox, Bloomfield

Derek Savage, Goldey-Beacom