GRANTHAM, Pa. – Host Messiah College outlasted Stevenson University for an 64-57 MAC Commonwealth men's basketball victory Wednesday evening at Hitchcock Arena.
Messiah (13-7, 7-4 MAC Commonwealth) got a game-high 26 points from Colin Sareyka, with 18 of those coming after intermission. Matt Glogowski and Nate Eberle tossed in eight points apiece.
Stevenson (10-11, 2-10 MAC Commonwealth) got 12 points and seven rebounds from junior Keith Moody, while classmates Marcus Dentley and Jaylin Johnson each scored 10, with Johnson grabbing seven boards. Mustang leading scorer Danzel Wright was held to a season-low seven points, the first time all season he failed to reach double figures.
The Mustangs led 47-43 with 7:43 remaining following a layup by junior Johnny Rhodes. Messiah responded with an 8-0 run capped by a Sareyka trifecta to go up 51-47 at the 5:29 mark. Moody stopped the Falcon run with his basket with 4:21 left, but 17 seconds later Josh Darville scored for the hosts to again make it a four-point game.
Messiah pushed the lead to six with just under three minutes left on a pair of Matt Hess free throws. Moody got Stevenson back within four, 55-51, with 1:59 on the clock, and after a Messiah offensive foul, the Mustangs had a chance to make it a one possession game, but a turnover gave the ball back to the hosts and Sareyka converted a conventional three-point play with 49 seconds on the clock that made it 58-51. The hosts went 6-6 at the free throw line the rest of the way to seal the win.
Stevenson trailed 26-23 at halftime but opened the second half on a 7-0 run to go up 30-26 on a Wright basket 2:34 into the frame. Messiah scored five straight to retake the lead, 31-30 and from there, the two teams traded the lead five times before a Sareyka layup but the Falcons on top for good with 6:21 remaining.
Stevenson scored the game's first five points and opened up a 12-4 lead at the 12:05 mark following a basket by Rhodes. Back-to-back Messiah threes cut the lead to two before a three by freshman Kobe Colston at 9:38 made it 15-10.
Down 19-12, the Falcons used an 8-0 run to take their first lead, 20-19, on a Glogowski three 4:18 before intermission. Stevenson retook the lead on freshman Evan Joseph's basket with 3:14 left, but the hosts scored six straight to open a 26-21 lead. A driving layup by Johnson as time expired in the first half cut the Messiah lead to three, 26-23, at the break.
Messiah shot 44% overall and was 7-17 behind the arc, while the Mustangs shot 38% for the game and went 6-27 from long range. The Falcons went 13-14 at the free throw line, while Stevenson took just four free throws, making three. Messiah outrebounded Stevenson 37-32, but the Mustangs committed just seven turnovers, a season low.
Stevenson travels to Widener on Saturday afternoon for a 3:00 MAC Commonwealth contest.