PITTSBURGH, PA – The La Roche men's basketball team held on for a thrilling 68-66 over Hilbert in a matchup of conference unbeatens. Hilbert overcame a nine point deficit to tie it but the Redhawks defense came up with big stops late.
The Redhawks struggled with their shot early while Hilbert converted over sixty percent of their attempts. Despite their shooting troubles, La Roche's hustle on the offensive and defensive glass allowed them run out to an early first half lead.
La Roche's shooting fortunes improved while Hilbert's dropped off. The Redhawks shot over sixty percent over the final ten minutes of the first and Hilbert dipped to forty percent.
La Roche entered halftime with a 41-37 advantage. Thomas led the Redhawks with 9 first half points and Phifer brought down 4 rebounds. Gould dished out 4 assists.
Thomas and Gould both hit short range jumpers and Hilbert burned a timeout early in the second half.
The Redhawks came out of the timeout with a Bajgora jumper from the foul line and a Dion Etheridge fastbreak layup to extend the lead back to nine. Hilbert cut it back to four with a three-pointer and an up and under layup.
Hilbert got within one with twelve minutes to play. La Roche stepped up their defense holding Hilbert without a basket for over five minutes and taking a 56-51 lead. The Hawks were back within three with eight minutes left but Gould drew a charge and Bajgora converted on the other end.
La Roche and Hilbert traded baskets over the next three minutes going between a three and five point Redhawk lead. Hilbert tied it at 63-63 with 2:28 left in regulation.
Gould had the answer on the other end draining a three on a feed from Phifer. The Hawks hit a layup in transition to get it back to one and held possession down a point with nineteen seconds left.
Tough defense forced Hilbert to take a difficult shot and Gould battled his way to the rebound. Gould then converted a pair of free throws for a 68-65 lead with ten seconds left.
The Redhawks had fouls to burn and put Hilbert's Antonio Alvarez at the line for a one and one with seven seconds left. Alvarez hit the first and Hilbert came down with the rebound after the second missed. The Hawks immediately called a timeout underneath the Redhawks' basket. Hilbert had four attempts to tie it but La Roche held on for the big conference victory.
Thomas led the Redhawks with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Gould had 14 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds and Bajgora added 10 points. Phifer and Frederick had 6 rebounds each.
La Roche is off this week and will travel to defending AMCC Champion Medaille on Saturday. Gametime is 2pm.