Keystone College outscored defending Colonial States Athletic Conference champion Neumann University 52-39 in the second half of Saturday’s men’s basketball game to defeat the Knights 91-80 in the Gambal Athletic Center.
The Giants also edged Clarks Summit University, 83-66, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, and boosted their record to 4-3 overall and 3-0 in conference play.
On Saturday, Keystone scored the first five points of the contest before Neumann used a 20-6 run to claim a 20-13 advantage with 12:26 remaining in the opening half.
The Giants countered with the next seven points, tying the contest at 20-apiece on a layup by senior Bryan Williams midway through the period.
The Knights went back in front 26-22 before Keystone used another 7-0 spurt to claim a 29-26 advantage on a trey by sophomore Austin Smith at the 5:46 mark.
Neumann countered with the next nine points to take a six point lead, but the hosts surged back ahead 39-38 on a lay-in by freshman Michael Leak with 44 seconds left in the frame.
The Knights would take a 41-39 edge into the halftime break after getting a 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining to close out the scoring in an exciting opening 20 minutes of play.
The two teams traded baskets over the first five minutes of the second half with Neumann taking a 52-49 edge with 14:47 remaining in regulation.
Keystone went ahead 54-52 as senior Mark Gilliam hit a jumper before JT Bennett junior followed with a three-pointer.
Holding a 60-58 edge at the midpoint of the half, the Giants embarked on a 14-3 surge that pushed the hosts advantage to 74-61 with 6:39 showing on the clock.
The Knights cut their deficit to nine points on three occasions in the final six minutes, but Keystone, which led by as many as 15 points, held a double-figure lead over the final 4:17 of the contest to pull away with the 11-point victory.
Bennett scored a game-high 22 points for the Giants while sophomore John Kirkpatrick netted 15 points.
Gilliam (13) and Smith (11) also reached double-figures for the hosts, who shot 48.5 percent from the field for the game and made 14 three-pointers, hitting on 46.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
The Giants also went 56.7 percent from the free throw line.
Williams led all players with 11 rebounds while sophomore Perry Belcher dished out a game-high eight assists to go along with nine rebounds.
Neumann hit on 45.8 percent of its field goal attempts on the day while going 33.3 percent from long distance and 53.3 percent from the line.
Against Clarks Summit, Keystone used a 21-6 run to close out the first half and held on for the win in the contest between the local rivals.
The Giants and Defenders swapped the lead eight times over the opening 11:45 of the game, with neither team leading by more than three points during that stretch.
Sophomore Jalen Flynn connected on a three-pointer with 7:49 remaining in the opening half to jump start a 13-0 run for Keystone that gave the visitors a 32-19 advantage with four and a half minutes remaining in the period.
The Giants maintained a double-digit lead and held a 40-25 advantage at the halftime break.
Clarks Summit trimmed its deficit to nine points early in the second half, but Keystone used a 15-4 surge to claim a 55-35 cushion with 16:29 left on the clock.
The Giants’ lead swelled to 27 points with 6:18 remaining before the Defenders used a 16-2 push to pull to within 13 points in the final minute of the game, but the visitor’s lead was too much for the Defenders to overcome.
Gilliam paced a balanced offense for Keystone with 13 points to go along with four assists and three steals while Kirkpatrick and senior Terrence Palmer netted 10 points apiece.
Flynn and Bennett chipped in with nine points each for the Giants, who shot 50 percent from the field for the game, 26.7 percent from three-point range, and 58.3 percent from the free throw line.
Keystone also held a 32-25 advantage on the glass for the game and committed just 12 turnovers to 19 for the hosts.
The Defenders connected on 46.2 percent of their attempts from the floor in the loss while going 27.8 percent from beyond the arc and 78.9 percent from the line.
Keystone will close out play for the semester at the Don Glick Classic hosted by Bridgewater College this weekend.
The Giants will take on the host Eagles at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night before meeting Eastern Mennonite University on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Bridgewater, Virginia.