WILKES-BARRE (PA) – James Jones scored 39 points and Jason Goldheimer hit three free throws with no time remaining as Delaware Valley College stunned Freedom Conference foe Wilkes University with an improbable comeback for the second time this season, this one an 82-81 road victory.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Aggies as they improved to 13-10 overall and, more importantly, 7-5 in the Freedom with just two regular-season games remaining. Two-time defending champion DeSales University is atop the standings with a 9-3 record with Delaware Valley, Wilkes and Misericordia University all tied for the second spot (the Aggies currently hold the tiebreaker edge thanks to a 3-1 combined record against the two squads). King's College is just a game back in fifth with a 6-6 record. The top four teams qualify for the conference playoffs, a place Delaware Valley is trying to reach for the second time in the last three years and just the third in its history.
Back on January 22, Wilkes and Delaware Valley met in Doylestown and the Aggies were down 11 with 4:39 remaining and nine with 2:53 to go before rallying for the 77-73 victory. Jones was unstoppable on the afternoon as he connected for 43 points (the second-highest, single-game total in school history), including 32 of the team's 48 second-half points. It was the fourth win of what would be a six-game winning streak.
Saturday's comeback was even more unbelievable as this one took place on the road and with Delaware Valley in its losing streak. The Aggies were down for nearly all of the final 23 minutes of the game, including a 10-point deficit with 8:45 remaining and five-point deficit with 50 seconds to go.
Down 80-75 after Kendall Hinze hit two free throws, Jones came down the other end and was fouled with 42 seconds left. He connected on both foul shots and Delaware Valley went its press on defense. Nate Lewis stole the ball and Jones eventually hit a layup to make it a one-point game at 80-79 with 23 seconds left.
The Aggies forced another turnover with Chris Ellis picking up the steal. However, Jones missed a reverse layup and Hinze grabbed the rebound for the Colonels. Matt Mullins was fouled with 10 second to go and he hit his first attempt, but missed the second. With no timeouts remaining, Delaware Valley scrambled down the court, Jones found Goldheimer in the right corner and the senior got his 3-point shot off before the buzzer. The shot fell short but it didn't matter because Goldheimer was fouled on the play and would go to the line to shoot a trio of free throws.
Goldheimer entered his final season as Delaware Valley all-time leader in free throw percentage (.882), but has shot just 73.2 percent this year. He calmly swished the first two to tie the game and hit nothing but net on the third as well to set off a Delaware Valley celebration.
Jones was dominant against Wilkes again as the Freedom Conference Player of the Year candidate was 13-for-21 from the field (2-for-5 from 3-point land) and 11-for-11 from the foul line for his 39 points. It tied two others for the fifth-highest, single-game scoring total in Aggie history and gave him three of the top 11 all-time scoring performances (he had 36 against Marywood in December of 2008). The 11 free throws upped his season total to a school-record 138, and he also became just the seventh player in program history to eclipse the 1,400-point total for a career (1,416). Jones has accomplished all of this in just three years after transferring in from Widener University.
Jeremy Beckett notched his 12th double-double of the season as he scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Ellis contributed 12 points while Goldheimer, who was 0-for-3 from the field – all 3-point attempts – went a perfect 5-for-5 from the foul line, including the biggest three of his career at the end of the game to win it.
Hinze was 9-for-12 from the field and 14-for-18 from the charity stripe for a career-high 32 points for the Colonels. Chris DeRojas added 13 points while Paul Huch had 10 points and nine boards.