Allison Smalling/ERAU Athletics
DeForest Carter did a little bit of everything on Thursday night, scoring 20 points, pulling down 10 rebounds and dishing out nine assists to lead the Embry-Riddle men’s basketball team to a 76-64 victory over Johnson & Wales. The win keeps the Eagles in first place in The Sun Conference with a 6-1 mark and improves ERAU’s overall record to 18-1, while JWU falls to 12-5, 4-3 in league play.
Cesar Pastrana poured in 15 points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds while Daniel Kiesling (12 points) and Dalton Barnes (11 points, 6 rebounds) each tallied double-digit point totals.
Ricardo Suarez led all players with 25 points and 12 rebounds while also recording four assists for JWU. Gino Fils-Aime added 16 points and Jumaoke Smith chipped in nine points, seven rebounds and a team-leading five assists.
After Tariq Martin scored the first basket of the game, ERAU scored 14 consecutive points to quickly establish a 14-2 lead in the game’s opening minutes. Jason Powell drilled a three to build the Eagle lead up to 17 points (21-4) with 10:50 left in the first half.
The Wildcats came back to cut the lead to single digits (29-21) on a three from Gino Fils-Aime with 4:37 on the clock, but the Blue and Gold maintained a comfortable lead and took a 38-29 advantage going into halftime.
Daniel Kiesling knocked down a jumper for the first points of the second half, pushing the lead back to double-digits (40-29) just 28 seconds into the period. The Eagle advantage never dipped below seven points for the rest of the contest.
Carter hit a jumper with 14:51 to play that increased the lead to 12 points (49-37) and another Carter jumper made it a 14-point game (58-44) with 10:17 left in the game.
Less than three minutes later the Wildcats had cut the deficit down to seven points (59-52), only to see the Blue and Gold run it back up to 11 on a triple from Reed Ridder that made it 65-54 with 5:48 on the clock.
A Carter bucket with just over two minutes to play made it a 73-58 game and the Eagles held a double-digit advantage for the rest of the game, eventually claiming a 76-64 victory.
ERAU shot 38.7% from the field while JWU shot 35.5%. The Eagles were plus-12 at the free throw line, hitting 22-of-33 from the charity stripe while the Wildcats were 10-of-16.
Embry-Riddle returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 24, with a road trip to Southeastern. The women will tip at 5 p.m., followed by the men at 7 p.m.