The Carlow men’s basketball team defeated Brescia, 92-89, in a back-and-forth thriller to earn a program-record fourth River States Conference win Jan. 20, at Oakland Catholic.
Carlow forward Tony Acrie (JR/Johnstown, Pa.) gave a dominant performance in the post, in a physical battle with Brescia big man Kayoda Daboiku. Acrie had his sixth double double of the season and his career-best day in both scoring and rebounding, with 27 points and 18 rebounds.
Charlie Scharbo (SR/Jefferson Hills, Pa.) also had a double double — his fourth of the year — with 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
Austin Matta (JR/Elizabeth, Pa.) scored 15 points for the Celtics (4-13/4-4/0-1). Zach Bryan (SR/Irwin, Pa.) added nine points while owning the difficult task of defending Brescia’s leading scorer, Tavon Johnson, the majority of the contest.
Rece Henneman (JR/Clarksville, Pa.) added seven rebounds, as the Celtics dominated the Bearcats on the glass. Carlow out-rebounded Brescia, 55-36, and scored 28 second-chance points to Brescia’ 11.
In the program's fourth season, Carlow moved its conference record to 4-4 with the victory. The Celtics remain in third place, one game ahead of Rio Grande, in the RSC East Division. The top four teams in each division advance to the conference playoffs.
Previously, the most league wins the Celtics had posted in a season was three, in 2016-17. Their best overall win total is six, from the 2015-16 season.
Saturday's game was fast-paced and physical, featuring 11 ties and 11 lead changes.
The Bearcats (6-12/4-4) held their largest lead, 12-3, after 4:19, but Carlow repeatedly fought back each time they threatened to pull away in the first half.
The Celtics tied the game for the first time at 34, with 5:02 to play in the first half. They took their first lead, 41-39, with 2:08 left in the half. At the break, Carlow led, 43-42.
The Bearcats worked their lead back up to eight points, 80-72, with 8:01 to play in the contest. However, the Celtics went on a 10-1 run to regain the advantage, 82-81, by the 4:42 mark.
Acrie gave the Celtics their largest lead of the afternoon when it mattered most. He hit a jumper with 31 seconds left on the clock, to put Carlow ahead, 91-87.
Scharbo pulled down a big defensive rebound on Brescia's next possession. The Bearcats got one more chance, and Johnson made a layup with nine seconds remaining.
But then Brescia was forced to foul and Henneman made a free-throw with .04 remaining as the rowdy Carlow student section celebrated the victory.
Johnson led Brescia with 33 points and eight rebounds. Daboiku finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Dillon Geralds added 14 points and seven boards, and Zach McDaniel scored 10 points.
Carlow next travels to Alice Lloyd on Thursday, Jan. 25.