Strong Shooting Leads Mustangs Past Messiah for Fifth Straight

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Stevenson men's basketball team shot 50% from the floor and got a combined 63-points, from senior Danzel Wright, and juniors Jaylin Johnson and Marcus Dentley to edge out MAC Commonwealth opponent Messiah College by a final score of, 87-82 on Wednesday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium.  The win extended Stevenson's win streak to five, its longest since winning seven in a row in the 2014-15 season.

The Mustangs (10-4, 2-3 MAC Commonwealth) improved to 6-1 at home on the season.  It was the fifth time that Stevenson has 50% or better on the year and the first time they have accomplished that on the home floor.  Wright paced the team with 28 points, on 8-14 from the floor, including 5-10 from beyond the arc.  He also was perfect at the foul line making all seven he attempted Johnson added 19 and six rebounds, with 17 of his points coming after halftime, while Dentley chipped in 16.  Sophomore Mark Terrell also finished in double-figures with 10.  Junior Keith Moody grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and added six points.

Messiah (7-5. 2-2 MAC Commonwealth) had four players hit double figures.  Colin Sareyka led the way with 22.  Matt Glogowski netted 18.  Neil Murren finished with 17 and Nate Eberle added 12.  Forward Josh Darville pulled down a game-high 16 boards.

Stevenson opened up the second half with a 12-point lead at 51-39, but the Falcons scored the first ten point coming out of the break to cut the lead to, 51-49 on a Murren three with 16:57 left.  Johnson would add the next six on a three and a-and-one opportunity to push the advantage back out to ,57-51.  Messiah tied things up at, 59-59, using an, 8-2 run ending on an Eberle layup with 13:10 remaining.  For the next six minutes the teams would trade baskets, as neither side could string together multiple defensive stops.  A fast-break layup at the 7:00 mark by Johnson tied the game back up at, 68-68. 

The Mustangs would never fall behind again the rest of the way as five straight by Wright, including three consecutive free throws after a foul by the Falcons' Matt Hess gave put Stevenson in front, 73-68.  The visitors' cut the lead down to one after buckets by Murren and Sareyka.  However, that was the closest the guests could get after threes by Johnson and Wright pushed the hosts ahead by five once again at 79-74 still with 3:08 to play.

A foul by Moody kept Messiah's hopes alive when Sareyka stepped up to the charity line and drained a pair to close the lead to, 80-78 with just over a minute remaining.  The home side advanced their lead back to five on the next possession when Dentley drove into the lane and laid the ball in, while drawing the foul.  He then sank the ensuing foul shot making the score, 83-78.  Terrell and Glogowski exchanged free throws and the lead stayed at five, 84-79 with just over a half minute on the clock.  Glogowski kept the Falcons in it after he converted a three-point play on a foul by Kyle Wooldridge making it, 84-82 with 22 seconds left.  Messiah was forced to foul on the following inbounds play which sent Johnson to the stripe where he went one-for-two giving the Mustangs an, 85-82 edge.  Sareyka attempted to put the guests in a position to tie the game, but his pass was picked off by Wright who was immediately sent to the line.  He stuck both shots to give Stevenson the 87-82 win.

In the first half, the Mustangs jumped out to an early 11-4 lead just four minutes into the contest on three-pointers from Wright and Dentley (who also added a layup).  A bucket by Terrell with 6:33 gone in the game gave the home side a substantial lead at 13 with the score at, 20-7.  Stevenson would grab their largest lead of the game with ten minutes left in the half when junior Johnny Rhodes found Terrell on the perimeter for a three making the score at that point, 31-14.  The Falcons got the advantage down to four as they went on a 21-8 run closing the score to, 39-35 with four minutes left.  The Mustangs went on a 12-4 push of their own to close the half capped off by a Dentley jumper making it 51-39 after 20 minutes.

Stevenson shot the ball well all night, as they went a scalding 58.8% from the floor in the first half, including 9-15 from three-point range.  For the game it shot at an even 50% going 31-62, while knocking down 13 of its 27 three-point attempts.  Messiah finished the night shooting at 43.9% (29-66).  The Falcons held a slim edge on the glass, 35-32 and went 17-18 at the free throw line while the hosts were 12-14.         

Stevenson continues conference play on Saturday when they travel to Lycoming to take on the seventh-ranked Warriors at 1pm.