The Berkeley College men's basketball team won its sixth consecutive contest on Saturday evening, turning back the Moose of the University of Maine at Augusta by a score of 111-69 on the first day of the NHTI Holiday Inn New Year's Classic. The game was played in Concord, New Hampshire. With the victory, the Knights are now 9-1 on the 2017-2018 campaign, while the Moose dipped to 4-7 on the year. Following the game, Head Coach Jonathan Pena gave his thoughts.
"I was very encouraged by the all-around effort put forth by our student-athletes here this evening," Pena said after the Knights' 43-point blowout victory. "We had five players score in double figures, and as a team, we shot over 51 percent from the field and recorded 23 assists. Our team is in a groove right now, and it was very gratifying to see us start calendar year 2018 off on the right foot. We'll enjoy this one for a few hours before getting right back to work tomorrow against NHTI."
For Berkeley College, it was their fifth consecutive game scoring 100 points or more, and it was the third straight season in which the Knights have defeated the University of Maine at Augusta at the NHTI Holiday Inn New Year's Classic. In 2015-2016, Berkeley picked up a 112-73 win over the Moose, before turning back the University of Maine at Augusta by a score of 131-67 during the historic 2016-2017 campaign.
Leading the way for the Knights in their victory was sharpshooter Ricardo Ayuso, as he connected on eight of his 14 shots from the floor to tie for the game-high in points with 19. He also added three rebounds, three steals, and a pair of assists. Veteran Johnnie Green contributed 14 pints, seven rebounds, and two steals, and Michael Taylor, Darius Ward, and newcomer Demetri Stewart all scored 13 points apiece.
Despite the loss for the Moose, it was Israel Brown pacing his squad, as he tied for the game-high in points with 19. He also added four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Dustin Simpson-Bragg finalized his evening with 19 points and eight rebounds, and Jordon Holmes contributed nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
The University of Maine at Augusta held early leads of 5-0 and 7-6, but from that point on, it was all Berkeley College. The Knights took the lead for good when Ayuso connected on a three-point basket to put his team ahead by a score of 9-7 just 2:50 into the game. Berkeley College gradually built its lead as the opening session progressed, and the Knights eventually took a commanding 55-27 edge into the locker room at halftime.
The Knights put the game away early in the second half, starting the session on a 16-4 run to extend their lead to 40. That spurt was highlighted by Ayuso, as he scored seven points during the run, including a rim-rattling dunk off a pass from Jerell McLeod. The Knights would go on to lead by as many as 44 points before winning by 43.
Berkeley College connected on 51.2 percent of its attempts from the floor (42-82) compared to 34.9 percent for the University of Maine at Augusta (30-86). The Knights absolutely dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Moose by a count of 67-37, while also recording 23 assists to the opposition's 12. Berkeley held a 27-17 edge in the points-off-turnovers category, while also scoring 60 points in the paint compared to 46 for the University of Maine at Augusta.
The Knights will return to action tomorrow afternoon, as Berkeley College will take on NHTI on day two of the NHTI Holiday Inn New Year's Classic. Start-time for that contest is scheduled for 3:45pm.