For the second time in a week, Bloomsburg held court with a top 10-ranked opponent but couldn’t overcome a late charge from No. 8 East Stroudsburg Wednesday evening at Nelson Field House, falling 74-63 in a battle for first place in the PSAC East.
Alssene Saintilus provided the offensive spark for Bloomsburg (8-6, 4-1 PSAC East), tying a career-high with 21 points along with six rebounds but it was not enough against the undefeated Warriors (16-0, 6-0).
The Huskies matched ESU nearly shot-for-shot down the stretch in the opening period, pulling within three at intermission, 28-25.
East Stroudsburg began to take control early in the second half, opening the period on a 16-8 break to stretch the lead to double digits for the first time on a jumper from Matt Tobin with 14:55 left to go. Saintilus answered on the other end with a lay-in and then made one of two at the line to pull within eight at 44-36 before the two teams traded baskets to hold the margin at single digits with 12:30 remaining.
A pair of free throws from Jamal Nwaniemeka pulled the Warriors in front 50-40 to start a 12-5 break for ESU, ultimately seizing the game’s largest lead at 17 points (62-45) with 5:35 showing on the clock. Bloomsburg got as close as 10 following a layup from Andrew Morgan at the 4:18 mark, but it would be as close as the hosts would get.
Bloomsburg 63, East Stroudsburg 51
BLOOMSBURG — Jocelyn Ford scored a game-high 23 points to help rally Bloomsburg to a 63-51 win over East Stroudsburg Wednesday night in PSAC Eastern Division action.
Ford scored 20 of her points after halftime and also tied her career high in assists with nine, with eight them coming in the first half.
Bloomsburg (12-3, 3-2 PSAC East), playing without two key players due to injury, jumped out to the early lead in the game going up 12-6 in the first three and a half minutes of play. Marla Simmons scored five points and Adreana Sadowski added four for the Huskies.
The Warriors (808, 3-3 PSAC East) rallied to take the lead using a 17-6 spurt to go out on top, 23-17 after an Audrey Stapleton layup with 7:14 to play in the half. But the Huskies used a couple of three-pointers from Lauren Nealon to tie the game at 24-24 with 3:45 to go before the break with the Warriors going to halftime with a 28-26 lead.
In the first half of play Ford had three points, three rebounds and eight assists for Bloomsburg.
East Stroudsburg equaled its biggest lead of the game at six points on two occasions early in the second half, the last coming with 14:02 to play on a layup from Allison Howard. Ford then took over the game for Bloomsburg, which lost backup center Nikki Tamanosky to an injury early in the second half, putting even more pressure on an already thin Huskies lineup.
Ford, a junior scored 11 of the Huskies next 16 points, including seven straight, to put Bloomsburg back on top 43-39 with 8:37 to play. She also played in the post defensively for the Huskies and was handling the ball out front against the Warriors pressure.
After the Warriors got back to within a bucket at 51-49 with 4:50 to play, Ford drained a 3-pointer to put Bloomsburg back up five and started a 12-2 run for the Huskies. Ford also converted a layup and hit two free throws as Bloomsburg pulled away and won 63-51.
Ford played all 40 minutes in the game and finished 8-20 from the floor and added five rebounds and two steals to her stat line. It was the third straight game that Ford scored 20 or more points. Nealon came off the bench to add nine points, while Simmons and Catherine Noack each chipped in with eight for the Huskies.