North Adams, MA- The NYU duo of Evan Kupferberg and Costis Gontikas combined for 46 points in leading the NYU men's basketball team past the MCLA Trailblazers 82-72 this afternoon in the Amsler Campus Center Gym. With the win, NYU improves to 3-2 on the season, while MCLA falls to 1-3.
The Violets started fast as they jumped out to a 12-0 lead just four minutes into the action. Ross Udine had four points in the opening spurt to ignite NYU. The Trailblazers would trim the deficit to seven at 16-9 following a triple from Khalil Paul, however NYU would regain command.
A 12-5 run by the Violets doubled up MCLA at 28-14. Gontikas scored the final four points of that stretch as NYU continued to pound the ball inside. The first half lead grew to as many as 16 with 4:31 remaining in the opening half before settling on 40-26 in favor of the visitors.
NYU was efficient running their offense in the opening half shooting a blistering 64% and collecting 15 assists on 18 made field goals. The Violets owned the interior as 15 of their field goals were inside the paint. MCLA was held to just 29% from the floor in the half.
The second half saw the lead balloon to 21 points (58-37) with 11:29 remaining before MCLA made a closing push. The Trailblazers used a quick 8-1 burst to trim the margin to 59-45 with 8:45 remaining using full court pressure to force some NYU turnovers. The visitors would regain control and move back in front 65-47, but the Trailblazers refused to go away with 6:29 left.
MCLA embarked on a 15-4 run fueled by Khalil Paul to cut the deficit to just seven points at 69-62. Paul had eight points in the spurt, however when NYU's Joe Timmes nailed a three pointer on the next possession, the lead was back at ten. MCLA would only get within nine points the rest of the way as NYU held on for the victory.
Kupferberg was outstanding as he went 11-13 from the floor in collecting his game high 25 points. He added 8 rebounds and 6 assists for NYU. Gontikas was just as efficient going 8-10 for his 21 points. He pulled down 9 boards and chipped in with 5 assists. Timmes finished with 10 points, while Ross Udine dished out 8 assists for NYU.
NYU finished the game shooting 64% from the field and handing out 26 assists on their 32 made field goals. They were hurt by their 19 turnovers.
For MCLA, Paul finished with a season best 20 points, 15 of which came in the second half. He drilled four three pointers in that closing period. Todd Hunt had a solid game off the bench scoring 14 points.
NYU held a sizable 38-26 edge off the glass and held MCLA to just 41% shooting.
The Trailblazers are back in action on Monday when they host Wesleyan (CT) at 7pm.