Alvernia Back On Track After 74-62 Win

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Reading, Pa. (Dec. 8, 2011) - Alvernia University (3-3) scored the first 10 points of the game and never trailed in a 74-62 win over Penn State-Berks (0-5) Thursday evening in non-conference men's basketball action at the Physical Education Center.

The Crusaders had a lead as large as 22 points twice in the game, but saw the Lions claw back to within nine in the later stages.

"I thought the first 15 minutes of the second half was our best basketball all year," said Alvernia head coach Mike Miller after his team's 12th win over the crosstown Lions against zero losses.

"We gotta finish games," he continued.  "You finish games by not turning the ball over--which we had too many turnovers--and by making foul shots--and we were 20-for-30.  We're not going to finish a lot of games that way."

The Crusaders had 19 turnovers.  Seven of them from sophomore point guard Chris Davis (Norristown, Pa./Norristown) who nearly doubled his season total in one game.

Alvernia had a 7-0 run midway through the second half that established a 22-point spread, 62-40, and had a 64-42 lead with 4:49 to play after a layup from Brian Parker (Chichester, Pa./Chichester).  Berks his a 3 that sparked an 11-2 run cutting the Alvernia lead to 10 points with just more than a minute to go, but fortunately it proved too little, too late.

"They're gonna beat somebody good," Miller said of the Lions.  "All their games are that way.  They play hard.  They've been in every game in a tough schedule."

Alvernia opened the game with 3s from Stefan Thompson (Philadelphia, Pa./G.A.M.P.) and Josh Vargas (Allentown, Pa./Faith Christian Academy) the Vargas and Cory Boone (Howard, Pa./Bald Eagle Area) went back-to-back in the paint for a 10-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

Vargas finished with a game and season-high 25 points and was the only player in double figures for the Crusaders.

"Well, Josh Vargas came to life tonight," said Miller of his junior transfer.  "I liked his aggressiveness.  He was taking the ball to the basket hard."

Vargas was 9-of-15 from the floor hitting all six shots he took inside the arc.

Alvernia had a 16-point lead late in the first half and settled for a 15-point lead, 36-21 at the break following an offensive putback from senior Brian Nerney (Middletown, N.J./Red Bank Catholic).  Nerney finished the night with seven points and 10 rebounds.  Berks got a team-high 18 points from Tom Smith on 9-of-12 shoting.

"We needed that game a lot," finished Miller.  "Especially when you lose at home.  You gotta come back strong, which I'm glad we did."

The Crusaders play once more at home before the break on Saturday when they host the College of Staten Island at 5:00.  The Dolphins are in town for a pair of games and will play at Berks on Friday evening.

Alvernia 74, PSU-Berks 62