CRESSON, Pa.— The Franciscan University Barons used an offensive surge late in the first half to shrink a large deficit to just 12 at halftime, but ultimately let the momentum of the game slip toward Mt. Aloysius, as the Mounties came out victorious, 84-61.
"We just have to figure out how to control the [tempo of the game in the] second half," head coach John Lamanna said. "We've established first half play consistently for the first time all season in the last three games. Being able to go into halftime with a competitive score [the last three games] shows how our team is ascending."
With a little more than eight minutes left to play in the first half, the Barons were in a 36-12 hole. From there, they used a 21-9 run to bring the Mountie lead down to just 12 heading into halftime. Joseph Spears had all nine of his points during that run, sparking the Baron offense.
The Barons would close the gap even more in the second half, as they got the deficit down to nine with about 12 minutes left in regulation, but that was as close as they came.
"The last three games, we just haven't come out the second half and played well enough," Lamanna added. "But we took care of the ball better tonight. The fact that we had been turning the ball over at such a high rate means that 14 turnovers is an improvement – especially against a team that pressures and traps. It shows how our guys are getting better."
The Barons used a balance of power offensively, as three players scored in double-figures on the night. Nolan Albrecht led the way with 15 points, six rebounds, and three steals. John Trabbic added 13 points and Daniel Kroening chipped in with 12.
"Now it's a matter of trying to sure up the last 20 minutes of the game. As we move forward in the last stretch of the season, that's going to be our number one goal," Lamanna said.
The Barons will get the chance to try and achieve that goal on Saturday as they host the conference-leading Medaille College Mavericks on Kuzma Court. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.