The Alpha Theta Pi Razorbacks edged by the Chi Alpha Pi Cavaliers Tuesday night in a 46-43 victory. Alpha, coming off two losses, improved to 5-2 while the Cavs drop to 2-3 on the season.
The Cavs took control early in the game, feeding off the good shooting of sophomore Jonas Pagliarini. Pagliarini scored the game’s first seven points to give the Cavs a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
Alpha sophomore Stephen Bruce led all scorers with 17 points on the night. Bruce had seven in the first half, including Alpha’s first bucket of the game. Bruce also contributed a post-up that gave Alpha its first lead of the game at 13-11 with less than five minutes in the half and a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Razorbacks up by six, 19-13. Bruce had 10 points in the second half coming from two 3-pointers and two post-up moves in the paint.
Senior Robert Troutman, Chi Alpha’s down-low presence, scored only one point in the first half by a free throw. But Troutman came back strong in the second half, scoring 13 points with 10 coming in the paint and three from the free-throw line. Troutman also had several rebounds and helped force Alpha to settle for the occasional jumper rather than driving through the lane.
The second half was close throughout and saw several lead changes as both teams exchanged buckets. The Razorbacks looked as if they were about to pull away when they went up by eight points, 42-34, with just over three minutes left in the half. But Chi Alpha still had some effort left to give and did not give up on the game.
The Cavs began closing the gap, as Troutman, Pagliarini and senior Ryan Kliewer all scored in the final minutes. Down by two, Troutman was fouled underneath and hit one free throw to bring Chi Alpha within one.
Alpha sophomore Jadan Kashi made key free-throw shots to put Alpha up by three with just 8.9 seconds left to play. Kashi had nine points on the night, including one 3-pointer and six free throws.
With 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Cavs junior Will Kendall had a last-second heave from half-court that nearly went in to tie the game, but rimmed out to give Alpha the win. Although the Cavs fell to 2-3, all of their losses have come by single digits and from good opponents; the Cavs may just surprise everyone by finishing the season strong to set up a playoff appearance.