Delaware Valley 77, Misericordia 69

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DOYLESTOWN (PA) – All five Delaware Valley College starters reached double figures in scoring as the Aggies took over sole possession of first place in the Freedom Conference with a 77-69 victory over visiting Misercordia University.

Delaware Valley improved its record to 6-5 overall but, more importantly, a perfect 3-0 in the Freedom for its best conference start in more than 20 seasons. The setback dropped the Cougars to 8-6 overall and 1-6 in the league.

The Aggies came flying out of the game and hit four of their first six attempts from 3-point land, en route to a 20-7 advantage. Misericordia slowly got back in the contest and took two brief leads before a Nathan Bollinger trey with 25 seconds left gave Delaware Valley a 35-34 advantage at the break.

Delaware Valley built the lead for five early in the second stanza, but faced a critical stage when sophomore center Jeremy Beckett picked up his fourth personal foul with 14:16 remaining. Beckett, who entered the contest averaging a double-double (15.9 ppg, 11.4 rpg), sat on the bench for 10 minutes but freshman Nate Lewis grabbed eight rebounds during that time as the Aggies maintained a three-point lead.

Delaware Valley was still up three, 66-63, as Misericordia had the ball with just over 90 seconds left. Beckett then made one of the key plays of the game as he stole a pass at the top of the key, dribbled down the court and slammed home a dunk. James Jones then upped the lead to 69-63 with a free throw with 56 seconds to go. The Cougars pulled to within four on three separate occasions, including at 73-69 with 25 ticks left, but Delaware Valley broke the press and Beckett hit a layup while being fouled to seal the game.

The Aggie starting tandem combined for all but two of the team's points. Bollinger led the way with 19 points while Jason Goldheimer hit four treys and finished with 15 points. Beckett and Chris Ellis had 14 points apiece and Jones finished the afternoon with 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Lewis saw a total of 17 minutes in the game and notched two points and nine boards.

Ethan Eichhorst tallied 20 points and 19 rebounds to pace Misericordia. Robbie Johnson poured in 18 points and is now just 14 shy of the 1,000-point mark for his career. Jeff Slanovec also reached double figures with 14 points.