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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Turnovers Plague District of Columbia in 81-60 Loss to Molloy

January 19, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia men's basketball team uncharacteristically committed a season-high 22 turnovers as the Firebirds were dealt an 81-60 loss to Molloy on Saturday afternoon in East Coast Conference play.
District of Columbia has now lost three straight to fall to 2-13 overall and 1-6 in league play. Meanwhile, Molloy improved to 10-5 overall and 6-1 in the ECC to keep pace with a victorious NYIT today for 2nd place in the league standings.
Junior transfer guard Michael Terry (Criminal Justice – Philadelphia, PA/Boston U), who played all 40 minutes, led the Firebirds with team-highs of 18 points and four assists. Junior transfer guardRalph Watts (Sociology – Peekskill, NY/UAlbany) turned in 11 points, seven rebounds, five steals and a season-high four blocks. Sophomore forward Florent Pontens (Business Management – Tarbes, France/Cheshire Academy) also gave the Firebids a lift off the bench with nine points and seven rebounds.
Molloy was led by its junior forward John Petrucelli, who packed the stat sheet with team-highs of 17 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals. Four other Lions scored in double-figures including: Kevin Bowles (12 points, five rebounds), Richard Zoller (12 points five rebounds), Brandon Williams (11 points) and Matt McCleod (10 points). Molloy, who entered the game ranked No. 5 in the nation in steals per-game average at 11.8, came up with 18 thefts against a Firebirds offense which averaged an ECC-best, 12.1 turnovers per-game. The Lions cashed in on the 22 total turnovers they caused for 28 points.
Senior transfer forward D'Angelo Johnson (Mass Media – Washington, DC/Virginia St.) scored the game's first points, but that was to be the only lead the Firebirds would have all day long. A jumper by Pertrucelli near the 17-minute mark capped a 10-0 run which gave the Lions the lead for good. Trailing 10-2, the Firebirds crept back into the game with consecutive jump shots and a 1-of-2 trip at the foul line by Watts to cut the Lions' lead to 10-7, but Molloy put the game out of reach with a 19-2 spell over the next six minutes to take a commanding, 29-9 advantage. The Lions would later end the half on a 7-0 over the final three minutes of play and take their largest lead of the half, 44-20 into the intermission. Petrucelli, by halftime already had 11 points, nine rebounds and six steals as the Firebirds committed 16 turnovers (four more than their season game average) and surrendered 20 points off of those turnovers.
Still a 25-point game about six-and-a-half minutes into the second half, the Lions used an 8-0 charge to take their largest lead of the afternoon, 65-32 almost halfway into the closing frame. The Firebirds came storming back with a 19-2 run to close the gap to 16 (68-52) with just over five minutes to play, but Molloy answered with a 13-4 run in the waning minutes of regulation to claim an 81-57 lead with 46 seconds remaining. The Firebirds went on to score the final four points of the game to make it a final of 80-61.
Molloy out-shot District of Columbia 52-percent to 43-percent from the field and 46-percent to 22-percent from three-point range. The Lions also won the rebounding battle, 40-31 and were the more efficient team in the assist-to-turnover ratio (17/14 to 11/22).
The Firebirds, now 2-3 on their home floor for the season, will host ECC foe Queens on Wednesday, January 23rd at 5 p.m.

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