Elm City takeover: Basketball sweeps Southern

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Photo courtesy of Tyler Wells.

New Haven’s Derrick Rowland rises for the dunk against SCSU, West Haven, Feb. 16, 2022.

Tyler Wells, Managing Editor

In the second installation of the Elm City Series on Wednesday, the New Haven basketball teams walked away with standout wins in front of a crowd of over 1,000. It was also a night of recognition and celebration, as the athletic department recognized the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History Month, the men’s basketball seniors and the Northeast-10 football championship team.

Prior to tip-off, the New Haven Chargers Instagram page honored their Black athletes.

“Know the past, shape the future,” the post said as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the Black Lives Matter night. “Not just this month, but every game, scrimmage, and competition we are proud to honor and recognize the accomplishments of our Black student-athletes.”

Each team donned a Black Lives Matter warm-up shirt created by SAAC highlighting victims of police brutality. Shirts were also thrown to students in the crowd throughout the men’s game.

Women’s team uses late run to topple Owls

The women’s team took the court first, coming away with a 71-63 win over the Owls. Each side came out firing in the first quarter, with New Haven holding onto a 23-20 lead off a pair of early threes from graduate guard Brie Pergola and another from senior Camryn DeBose. The Chargers stretched their lead even further in the second quarter, led again by DeBose who added five points early in the quarter. Junior guard Kameryn King, who has stepped up as a scoring threat this season, also added five points of her own.

New Haven’s Brie Pergola handles the ball against SCSU, West Haven, Feb. 16, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Wells.)

New Haven used this scoring output to take a 39-30 lead into the half.

In the third quarter, New Haven stretched their lead to 17 points off a King jumper, a three from Pergola and a layup from junior forward Aurora Deshaies. A three from junior forward Briana Van Cleaf capped the Chargers’ scoring in the quarter, as the Owls would respond with their first extended run of the game: an 11-0 stretch to cut the lead to just six heading into the final period.

The Owls kept the pressure in the fourth, tying the game at 57 with just under seven minutes left. Despite this, the balanced New Haven offense continued finding baskets. The duo of DeBose and Pergola struck again, connecting on two baskets to give New Haven a four point cushion.

After a Deshaies basket, a Southern Connecticut three cut the lead to just one possession. However, it was Van Cleaf again from behind the arc who lengthened the Chargers’ lead. Just a 32.5% three-point shooter on the season, Van Cleaf connected twice from deep in the second half to give New Haven a scoring boost.

This proved to be enough for New Haven as they carried the momentum in the final minutes, walking away with the 71-63 victory.

DeBose led the Chargers with 18 points while Deshaies added 17 points and 10 rebounds of her own. Pergola and Van Cleaf each finished with double digit points, with 16 and 11 respectively. King rounded out the scoring, contributing nine points and leading the team with eight assists.

With the win, New Haven continues their stretch of good play and improves to 9-14 (4-13 NE-10) as of Wednesday.

Men’s basketball rides momentum to win

The New Haven men’s basketball team in a timeout, West Haven, Feb. 16. 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Wells.)

The men took the court next, pausing prior to tip-off to recognize their senior class. Following the celebrations, an energetic crowd was ready to see the matchup unfold.

Each side came out firing early, as the adrenaline of the sold-out crowd fueled a high-paced and intense game. Senior center Majur Majak connected on a layup under the rim after collecting an offensive rebound for the first basket of the game before Southern Connecticut came back with an instant response.

The first half continued this way, with each side not being able to pull away. With the score tied at 10, back-to-back layups from junior forward Davontrey Thomas and junior guard Tavin Pierre Philippe gave New Haven a four-point lead forcing Southern Connecticut to take a timeout. After the timeout, the Owls went on a run of their own to take the lead.

Later in the half, Pierre Philippe gave the New Haven crowd sudden life. Facing a 23-18 deficit, a long rebound found the hands of graduate guard Derrick Rowland. With numbers on the fastbreak, Pierre Philippe got behind the defenders and cut to the hoops for a soaring alley-oop dunk. Charger Gymnasium let off a resounding roar of approval.

On the next possession, following a Southern Connecticut miss, Pierre Philippe was left open in the corner. He calmly caught the ball and rattled in the three, turning to the New Haven crowd that was now out of their seats.

Despite the sudden momentum shift, the Owls remained largely in control during the first half. They continued connecting on tough jump shots and contested layups late in the half, finding themselves with a 36-31 lead heading into the break.

The Southern Connecticut lead did not last long. Majak came out of the half strong, slamming two dunks and making a pair of free throws within the first three minutes. Senior guard Quashawn Lane then stepped up, drilling a three and making a layup to tie the game at 42.

New Haven’s defense, which has been the team’s strength all season, stepped up in the second half. Nothing came easy for the Owls’ offense, and New Haven opened a comfortable 11-point lead with over eight minutes left.

Even when Southern Connecticut found a response and broke through the defense, New Haven made their shots. Pierre Philippe added another basket, Majak connected on a jumper and Lane made a pair of layups to keep the lead at 11. With under three minutes left, Thomas was left wide open as the Owls tried a full court press; he sunk the three and practically sealed the deal for New Haven.

With the win already locked, New Haven turned to some high-flying theatrics to provide an exclamation point for the game.

In his final regular season home game, Rowland caught the ball on a breakaway with just one defender to beat. New Haven’s 22nd all-time scorer rose in the lane and powered home a right-handed dunk.

They weren’t done there. With the final seconds ticking down, Lane got the ball with no one else around him and a chance to tie one final bow around the rivalry game. He elevated to the hoop and sent home another dunk, capping off their season sweep of the Elm City Series.

Lane finished with a team-high 20 points, while Pierre Philippe and Majak added 14 and 12 respectively. Majak also nearly finished with a triple-double, posting 18 rebounds and nine blocks.

New Haven’s Derrick Rowland attempts a layup against SCSU, West Haven, Feb. 16, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Wells.)

The win marks New Haven’s fifth in a row and improves their record to 16-7 (12-6 NE-10). Southern Connecticut’s loss drops them to 7-15 (4-12 NE-10).

New Haven concluded their season on Saturday with another win at Adelphi, setting them up for a home playoff game this weekend. For more information on the upcoming playoff games for both the men and women, visit NewHavenChargers.com.