FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2018
Contact: Kelly Depsee
Communications and External Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5112
IT’S A FOUR-PEAT!
BERKELEY COLLEGE KNIGHTS DOMINATE VILLA MARIA
Congratulate the Knights: @BerkeleyCollege @USCAA #USCAABBall18 #BerkeleyKnights #NewsBerkeley
Story By: Stephen Spagnoli
Assistant Athletics Director
The Berkeley College Men’s Basketball team added an exclamation point to another championship season on March 3, 2018, as the Knights defeated the Vikings of Villa Maria College by a score of 93-77 in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II Men’s Basketball title game at Penn State Fayette. With the victory, Berkeley College (28-1) won its 25th consecutive game and captured its fourth consecutive national crown. Villa Maria’s magical season finished at 26-6 after the Knights snapped the Vikings’ seven-game winning streak.
“This has been an incredible journey for everyone involved with this program, and seeing it all culminate with another national title is truly gratifying,” said Jonathan Pena, Head Coach, Berkeley College Men’s Basketball. “Accomplishing something like this requires a team effort – everyone from the student-athletes and the coaches, to the administrators, and even our fans. The support we’ve had all year has been incredible.”
Coach Pena added that only four of the players in the championship game were returning players from the previous season – 10 were newcomers.
“We knew there was a chance that it was going to take time for this team to gel,” he said. “For them to come out this season and win 28 out of 29 games, it truly is a testament not only to how much this team loves winning, but how it equally hates the thought of losing. I am so incredibly proud of these guys and indescribably happy for them. They should savor and cherish every moment, because they deserve to.”
Coach Pena, who secured both regional and national titles during his first season as Head Coach, has always been a basketball workhorse who many felt was destined for greatness in the coaching ranks. Following a three-year career as a student-athlete at Berkeley College, he served as Assistant Coach for seven seasons. During the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 campaigns, he served as Associate Head Coach, before being named Head Coach in September 2017.
The Knights have now won four consecutive USCAA crowns, and a mind-boggling 13 consecutive national tournament games. What’s more? The Knights’ average margin of victory in their last nine USCAA tournament contests is 16.8 points. The College now boasts two winning streaks of 25 games or more over the last 28 months, and the team has won 81 of their last 82 contests.
Berkeley College and Villa Maria had met in last season’s USCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals, while also locking horns back on January 27, 2018. The Knights won both games by scores of 91-64 and 94-82, respectively.
In the victory for the Knights, Michael Taylor, USCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, was masterful for the Knights following a slow start. After connecting on just one of his first 11 attempts from the floor, the Brooklyn, NY, native drilled nine of his final 14 attempts on the night to tie for a game-high 24 points. He also posted game-highs of nine rebounds and eight assists.
Veteran Johnnie Green of Brooklyn, NY – playing in his final game as a Knight – tied the game-high 24 points. He also swatted a game-high four shots, as well as six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Ricardo Ayuso of Brooklyn, NY, contributed 15 points on the evening while tallying four rebounds, three assists, three shots, and two steals.
Shamoree Strawn of Brooklyn, NY, logged 27 minutes in his final contest as a Knight, netting 10 points while snatching eight rebounds and adding two assists. Demetri Stewart of Yonkers, NY, played 20 minutes and tallied seven points, five rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Teyvon Bussey of the Bronx, NY, who grabbed eight defensive rebounds in 10 minutes of action, made Knights history by capturing his fourth USCAA championship ring.
Though the Knights fell behind 12-6 in the opening minutes of play, they took the lead in the first half thanks to a three-point basket by Mr. Taylor, and would never trail again. In the second half, the team used a 10-4 run over a span of 2:37 to catapult ahead, closing the game by outscoring the opposition 16-9 over the final 6:09.
The Knights will look to make a run at a fifth consecutive USCAA Division II National Championship when the 2018-2019 season tips off in mid-November.
About Berkeley College
Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,100 students – including more than 440 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are five campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For five consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
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