NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Monroe College Men's Basketball team earned a hard-fought, nail-biter of a victory against Our Saviour Lutheran School on Wednesday. After building a 17-point lead in the first half, they nearly lost the game before a late rally lifted them to a 76-69 victory.
After Hampus Ahlin made a beautiful pass to Dani Koljanin to open the scoring, the Falcons scored the next eight points to take an 8-2 lead. Ahlin found Koljanin again for a layup to make the score 8-4. Monroe then got buckets from Bryan Assie and Ahlin to tie the score at 8-8.
The game was back and forth from there until the 12:53 mark, when the score was tied at 18-18. From there, the Mustangs used a 15-5 run to pull ahead, 33-23. Damont Kearse Jr., Christopher Burkley, Clifton Tracey, and Donald Butler contributed to the scoring spree. The lead grew to 17 points when a Burkley steal led to an Assie layup with 0:31 remaining in the half. Assie was 8-8 from the field in the first half. The score at the break was 48-34, Monroe.
The second half opened with an 11-2 run by OSL to pull within five, at 50-45. Tracey answered with a three-pointer, and Felix Carlsson made a pair of free throws shortly thereafter, pushing the Monroe advantage back to double digits, at 55-45, with 15:05 left. The lead got back to 12 points before the Falcons came alive and eventually tied the score at 69-all with 1:55 remaining.
Monroe closed out the game by scoring the final seven points. Tyler Ancrum accounted for two, and Tracey made the final five, including four clutch free throws in the final minute.
Tracey came off the bench to score 17 points on 4-6 shooting. Assie totaled 16 and grabbed 7 rebounds. Koljanin had 11 points and made 4-of-7 shots. Burkley led the team with three steals.
The team improved to 17-6 with the triumph. They will return to action on Saturday, February 4th, against Niagara County Community College at 3:00 PM in the second game of a doubleheader with the women's team.