DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Ursinus men's basketball team held a nine-point edge at halftime and saw its largest lead jump to 11 points early in the second half before Ithaca's massive second stanza doomed the Bears as they fell, 95-77, in their second and final game at the Land of Magic Classic.
A pair of technical free throws to begin the second half extended the Bears' lead to 11 points at 45-34, but it was the Bombers who used a whopping 61-point period to evaporate the spread. Ursinus (5-6) was held to just 34 points in the last frame, during which Ithaca shot a sizzling 67.6 percent overall (23-for-34) and went 9-for-15 (60 percent) from 3-point territory.
Carrying the heavy load for the Bears was senior Eric Williams Jr. who continued to torch the nets in Florida on his way to rising up another spot in the Centennial Conference record books. Williams poured in 24 points with six made threes Sunday - all coming in the first half - after making seven on Friday, moving his career total to 267, which is good for fifth best in the conference's history. The sharpshooter is only behind Franklin & Marshall's Brandon Federici (309), Ursinus' Dennis Stanton (306), Dickinson's Brandon Angradi (273), and Ursinus' Mike McGarvey (272) on the all-time 3-pointers list.
The guard scored 18 of his points in the first half but was held without a triple in the second .
Junior Ryan McTamney and freshman Ryan Hughes joined Williams in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Sophomore Lucas Olshevski was two points away from a double-double effort with eight points and ten rebounds.
Early on, neither team could create separation in an evenly matched affair until the Bears ended with a 16-4 run to take a 43-34 lead into halftime. Aided by 50 percent shooting from the field and a 1-of-8 cold shooting effort by Ithaca to close the half, the Bears looked to be in good shape at the break. Olshevski netted back-to-back buckets to give Ursinus a 33-30 lead and, after a basket by the Bombers, Williams buried consecutive 3's to stretch the lead to seven. Field goals by Hughes and McTamney sent the Bears into the locker room with a 43-34 edge.
The Bombers (5-4) put on an incredible second half offensive display with help from the long ball, quite the opposite from their sub-38-percent shooting in the first half.
Ursinus struggled to get it going, making only one triple on nine attempts. The Bears committed 11 turnovers in the frame compared to the Bombers' four.
With over 12 minutes remaining, the Bombers took the lead and continued to break away from the Bears, pushed their lead to as much as 21 points. A key cog was reserve Bryan Karl, who led the Bombers with a game-high 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 6-of-8 from downtown.
Ithaca's Sebastian Alderete added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Lethal scorer Riley Thompson who averaged over 22 points per game entering the contest, was held to ten points and no made field goals in the first half.
For the game, Ursinus shot 28-of-61 (45.9%) from the floor, 7-of-24 (29.2%) from 3-point range and 14-of-18 (77.8%) from the free throw line.
Ithaca shot 34-of-63 (54%) from the floor, 14-of-25 (56%) from 3-point range and 13-of-17 (76.5%) from the free throw line.
The Bears committed 17 turnovers and the Bombers turned it over 13 times.
Ithaca held a slight edge on the boards, 34-31, but Ursinus outscored Ithaca by a wide margin, 42-26, in the paint.
The Bears head home for the new year as they host Rosemont on Thursday at 7 p.m.