PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. – In a physical game that saw three different players leave the floor with injuries, the Southern Virginia University men's basketball team defeated the third ranked team in NCCAA Division II men's basketball, Valley Forge Christian College, 74-63. Prior to Friday's loss to Southern Virginia (15-7), Valley Forge (22-5) was a perfect 10-0 on their unique home court, accurately nicknamed "The Pit."
Southern Virginia got off to a sluggish start in The Pit, going 1-for-11 from the field and scoring only two points in the opening 7:30 of play. Stingy defense kept the Knights in the game, however, as the Valley Forge Patriots scored only six points over the same period.
A Casey Nye three-pointer at the 12:25 mark cut Southern Virginia's deficit to one (6-5) and seemingly took the seal off the rim for the Knights. From that point on, Southern Virginia shot a scorching 70 percent (26-for-37) from the floor for the remainder of the game.
Another Nye basket at the 12:05 mark gave the Knight's their first lead of the game (7-6) and sparked a 17-8 Southern Virginia run over the next 5:17. The Knights maintained their advantage for the rest of the period and entered halftime leading 31-22.
Turnovers hurt Southern Virginia after the half as increased defensive pressure from the Patriots caused the Knights to turn the ball over on seven of their first nine possessions in the second half. With Southern Virginia struggling to posses the ball, Valley Forge outscored the Knights 15-5 in the opening 5:16 of the second period to take a one-point lead (37-36) with 14:44 left to play.
After both teams traded baskets to make the score 39-38 in favor of the Patriots, Coach Pendleton switched his defense to a half-court trap, which caused fits for Valley Forge. Southern Virginia's aggressive trapping allowed the Knights to roll off 15 unanswered points over the next four minutes and regain control of the game.
With a 14-point lead and ten minutes remaining, the Knights used poise on offense and rebounding on defense to hold off any further Patriot charges and handed Valley Forge their first home loss of the season.
The Knights shot a season high 56 percent for the game and outrebounded Valley Forge 34-17, which was the Patriots' largest deficit of the season.
Nye scored a game-high 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting for the Knights while Spenser Briggs added 14 points and six rebounds despite leaving the game early due to a collision with a Patriots' player that would require stitches to Brigg's lip. Anders Jacobson also scored 14 points while Ky Raymond came off the bench to grab a game-high 8 rebounds while scoring 6 points.
Men's basketball has now won five games in a row and 12 out of 13 dating back to Nov. 26. The Knights will play tomorrow, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. against a Williamson Trade (16-1) team that is ranked 1st in the USCAA Divison II men's basketball coaches' poll.