King's Men's Basketball Edged by Conference Co-Leader Delaware Valley, 61-58

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FEBRUARY 1, 2017


WILKES-BARRE — The King's College men's basketball team batted back from a 10-point half-time deficit to build a nine-point second half lead. But in the end the host Monarchs were unable to hold on as MAC Freedom Conference co-leader Delaware Valley University walked away with a 61-58 victory Wednesday night in Scandlon Gymnasium.

With the win, the Aggies improved to 12-8 overall and remained in a first-place conference tie with Eastern University (12-8/7-2). The Monarchs, meanwhile, slipped to 5-15 and 1-8 in league competition. It was the Monarchs fifth conference loss this season by six or fewer points.

Delaware Valley built a 31-21 half-time lead thanks to an impressive shooting display by Mike Cianculli who scored 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range in the opening stanza.

But in the second half the Monarchs came out of the gates and used a three-pointer from Connor Callejas, an inside bucket by Ryan Wasley, and a driving lay-up from Callejas to cut the score to 31-28,  After the Aggies scored back-to-back buckets to up the lead to 35-28 with 16:16 left, King's would eventually fight back to tie the score at 39-39 following a bucket and foul shot from John Fazzini and a pair of free throws by Andrew Hudak with 12:11 left in the contest.

After two Delaware Valley misses, the Monarchs responded with a three-pointer by Callejas and an inside bucket by Hudak to forge a 44-39 lead. King's would later push the advantage to 52-45 at the 5:05 mark after back-to-back three-pointers by Dan Rutecki. After Cianciulli missed a three-pointer for the Aggies, Callejas made a short jumper in the paint to put the Monarchs on top 54-45 with 4:14 to play.

But the Aggies countered with a 12-2 run to take a 57-56 lead following a driving lay-up by Tyrea Williams with 2:09 on the clock. The Monarchs immediately answered with a jumper by Rutecki to put King's ahead  58-57 with 1:44 remaining, but Cianciulli knocked down a jumper to put the Aggies on top 59-58 with 1:18 on the clock.

After the teams traded misses, King's went for the juggler but Derek Wilkins three-pointer from the top of the key with 0:13 to go was just short and the Aggies rebounded. King's immediately fouled Tyliek Kimbrough who missed both shots, but Aggie teammate Williams snared a huge offense rebound. Forced to foul, the Monarchs put Andrew Butler on the line with 0:07 left and the Aggie guard made both attempts to push the score to 61-58.

The Monarchs called time-out just beyond half-court with 0:03 remaining to draw up one final play. King's last chance was unsuccessful as Callejas's three-pointer at the buzzer was blocked by Cianculli to preserve the Aggie victory.

Callejas led King's with 19 points and four rebounds with a trio of three-pointers. Rutecki followed with 16 points and seven rebounds with two treys. John Fazzini finished with eight points while Hudak chipped in with six points and six boards..  

The Aggies were paced by Cianciulli with 27 points on 7-of-15 from three-point range. Butler followed with 11 pouts while Kimbrough added 11. Williams contributed just two points but had 13 rebounds, four assists, and four blocked shots.  The Aggies out rebounded King's 42-31 and blocked eight shots in the game.

King's returns to action Saturday with a 3:00 PM contest at MAC Freedom co-leader Eastern University in St. David.