NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- For the second time in their brief history, The College of New Rochelle's men's basketball team had the great honor of playing at the Barclays Center, home of the National Basketball Association's Brooklyn Nets. This year's game turned out to be a wild one as the Blue Angels lost to the College of St. Elizabeth Eagles by the score of 98 - 96.
The first half had seven ties and eight lead changes in what was a back and forth affair. The Blue Angels were up 18 - 16 at the 10:59 mark, but the Eagles used a 15 - 2 run over the next three minutes to open up a 30 - 19 lead. The Eagles pushed the lead to as much as 15, 38 to 23, in the first half before the Blue Angels battled back. New Rochelle closed out the half on a 25 to 10 run to take a 48 - 47 lead into the break.
Sophomore Hunter Schenkel (Sayville, NY) played a large role in the team's first half lead as the co-captain scored 18 of his team high 25 points in the frame. He also collected eight of his team high 14 rebounds in the game's opening half. Schenkel had two steals and a team high four assists in the game, as well.
Another key component to the first half comeback was freshman guard Anthony Sylvester Jr (Queens, NY). Down as many as 15 points, Coach Nigro turned to Sylvester Jr to give the team a spark, and the Holy Cross graduate did exactly that as he scored seven points in six minutes of first half action. Sylvester finished the contest with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
The second half opened with The College of St. Elizabeth regaining the lead. The Blue Angels later went on a 12 - 0 run to take a 69 - 56 lead with 11:27 remaining in regulation. New Rochelle continued to hold a double-digit lead until the eight minute mark, when the Eagles fought their way back with a 10 - 0 run, to tie the game at 80. New Rochelle pushed the lead back up to seven with 1:23 remaining, however the Eagles would not go away. They ultimately fought their way to a 98 - 96 final score.
Freshman Justin Rivera (New York, NY) turned in a strong second half performance to keep the game close until the final whistle. Rivera scored 13 of his 19 points in the half to go with his six rebounds. Sophomore Elijah Harris (Flushing, NY) joined Rivera in having a big second half. Harris scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half while also compiling four steals and three assists.
The Blue Angels would love to thank all of the fans and family members that made their way to the Barclays Center for the game. The team travels next to Davis College on Wednesday, January 10, for a pivotal conference match-up.