Apparently, Keystone College junior guard JT Bennett likes the bright lights and big city.
In Saturday’s City University of New York Athletic Conference/Colonial States Athletic Conference challenge, Bennett poured in 30 points, including 17 in the second half, to lead the Giants to a 94-80 victory over Medgar Evers.
Bennett connected on 10 of 17 shots from the field, including 8 of 13 from beyond the 3-point arc, as Keystone won its second straight game to improve to 9-11 on the season.
The Giants also received 15 points off the bench from sophomore guard Jalen Flynn and junior guard Mark Perry finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth ‘double double’ in eight games since joining Keystone as a mid-semester transfer.
Bennett and Flynn combined for 25 first-half points as the Giants shot nearly 53 percent from the field to open up a 51-40 lead by intermission.
The Cougars stayed within contention by knocking down five 3-pointers and by converting 50 percent of their field goal attempts.
Bennett then took over the game, knocking down four 3-pointers to ignite a 23-12 run in the opening six minutes of the second half to help Keystone extend its lead to 22 points at 74-52.
The closest the Cougars got the rest of the way was 13 points twice in the final three minutes of play.
Defensively, Keystone made 11 steals and converted 22 Cougar turnovers into 27 points. The Giants also out-scored Medgar Evers, 50-28, in points in the paint.
Keystone also picked up a 78-52 victory over Clarks Summit University in CSAC action on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
The Giants unleashed a suffocating defense in the final 20 minutes of play to break away from a 33-30 halftime lead and cruised to the win.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for Keystone, which improved to 8-11 overall and 7-6 in the CSAC.
Flynn came off the bench and knocked down 7 of 9 shots from the field to finish with a game-high 17 points and senior forward Bryan Williams finished with 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, as the Giants shot nearly 49 percent from the field in the second half and held a commanding 47-25 rebounding advantage.
Keystone, which held a 57-21 advantage in bench points, needed a spark from its reserves tonight.
The Giants fell behind 15-4 early in the first half until Williams and Flynn came off the bench and combined for 14 points and eight rebounds to ignite a 29-15 over the final 15 minutes of the first half.
It was all Keystone, however, the rest of the way.
The Giants picked up their defensive intensity after halftime and held the Defenders to just five points in 11 minutes, building up a commanding 60-35 lead.
They also turned nine Defender second-half turnovers into 11 points.
Flynn’s 17 points was two shy of his season-high of 19 against Elmira College on Nov. 18.
In addition, he also had scored in double figures in two straight and three times in his last five games.
Williams’ ‘double-double’ was his first of the season and his 16 rebounds are a season-high, five more than his previous high of 11 against Neumann University on Dec. 2 at home.
Keystone returns to CSAC action this Wednesday, Feb. 7, against Cabrini University beginning 7 p.m. in the Gambal Athletic Center in La Plume.
Cabrini, which defeated the Giants, 96-94, on Jan. 6, is in first place in the CSAC, a half-game ahead of Gwynedd Mercy.
Keystone is tied for fifth-place with Immaculata University.
The top six teams advance to the CSAC post-season tournament, which begins with quarterfinal action on Monday, Feb. 19.