NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Junior forward Mike Filipek scored a career-high 30 points, and freshman guard Jaren Jeffcoat added 19, but it was not enough as the Norwich University men's basketball team dropped a 93-85 decision to Suffolk in a GNAC men's basketball game Tuesday evening at Andrews Hall.
Suffolk (3-21, 2-5 GNAC) shot 66.7 percent from the floor in the second half, and hit 54.2 percent from the floor for the game. The Rams were on fire from three-point range, knocking down 13-of-25 attempts from behind the arc, including 7-of-9 in the second half. The Rams also connected on 16-of-22 free throws.
Suffolk was led by Brian Small, who scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Mario Massimino and Mike Fleming each added 14 points apiece, while Michael Lindberg chipped in 11. Allan Ray netted eight points and hauled in eight rebounds for Suffolk, which broke a 12-game losing streak with the victory.
Filipek made 12-of-17 shots from the field and hit all six of his free throw attempts to lead all scorers with his 30 points. Jeffcoat connected on 7-of-14 field goals, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, for his 19. Derrick Montiero chipped in 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Jerrold Williams and Cody Hatt each added nine points apiece. Tim Fico contributed eight points and eight assists for the Cadets, who fall to 12-11 (8-9 GNAC).
Suffolk raced out to a quick 13-7 lead at the 15:47 mark. Ray knocked down a pair of three-pointers to lead the Rams' early surge. A jumper by Filipek and eight points by Jeffcoat fueled a 12-5 Norwich run that gave the hosts a 19-18 lead at the 10:59 mark. Suffolk reclaimed the lead at 26-22 with 8:29 to play before halftime following a 7-4 spurt. An 8-2 NU burst gave the Cadets a 30-28 edge with 3:35 showing on the first half clock, but Suffolk ended the period on a 10-6 run to take a 38-36 lead into the locker room.
The Rams opened the second half on a 23-13 run to open up a 61-49 lead at the 10:37 mark. Six straight points from Jeffcoat-on a conventional three-point play and a triple-trimmed Suffolk's lead down to six at 61-55 with 9:15 to play, but a 9-3 spurt by the Rams gave the visitors a 70-58 advantage just moments later.
The teams went back and forth over the next three minutes and Suffolk led 81-69 with 4:34 showing on the second half clock. That was when Norwich made one final push, ripping off eight straight points to cut the Rams' lead down to four points at 81-77 with 2:51 to go. A three-pointer by Fleming with less than two minutes to play extended Suffolk's lead to 84-77, and the Rams hit their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
Norwich's four seniors-Williams, Montiero, Hatt and Chris McIver-were honored prior to the game in a pregame ceremony to honor their contributions to the Norwich men's basketball program.
The Cadets close out their 2007-08 regular season on Saturday, Feb. 23, when they travel to Boston to take on GNAC rival Emerson. The contest is slated to begin at 1 p.m.