Strong second propels BBA
"We knew [Mill River] was going to be good coming into it, so we had to get our minds right," said Shehadi. "We played well at the end of the first and the second quarter, and we played good defense."
The two teams would open the game by exchanging leads, with Shehadi drilling a spot-up trey to give BBA a 6-3 advantage, only for Mill River to respond and take an 11-9 lead on a bucket by Dylan Shelvey.
But once Shelvey hit the bucket, the Bulldogs switched gears and ended the quarter on an 8-0 run.
Shehadi started things on the next possession, as Will Tate found the junior for a trey to make it 12-11. After an offensive putback by Cody Gilbert (4 points) pushed the lead to three, Ryan Smith made a steal on the following possession and found Shehadi the other way to make it 17-11 after one.
"I thought Ryan Smith made some really good passes," said BBA coach Dave Shehadi. "He found Joey a couple times and its bang-bang, all of a sudden its [a] 4 [point lead], then 8 or 9, and you get a little bit of space."
Mill River would open the second with a bucket by Jonathan Noboa (team-high 15 points), but the Bulldogs came back with a 9-0 run that was capped by a Tyeshawn Gadson (11 points) floater.
The Minutemen would answer with a four-straight points, including a triple from Michael Morgan to cut the lead to nine at 26-17, but again the Bulldogs responded with a 7-0 spurt that ended with a Shehadi and-one conversion to make it 33-17 going into the break.
"We just weren't getting enough going offensively in terms of just making plays," Mill River coach Mark Benetatos said.
"A six point quarter? You can't ask for more," coach Shehadi said. "Our goal is 40 in a game, and we aren't always going to get it. When you get the separation in there, going into the locker room, it is helpful."
In the third quarter, Mill River tried to make a move on the deficit with a 6-0 run, in which Noboa scored four of the points, to cut the deficit to 39-27. It was not enough, though, as BBA weathered the moment of turbulence with two baskets by Conor Harrington (11 points) and pushed the lead back to 17 when Smith again made a steal on defense only to find Shehadi at the other end for a trey. Going into the fourth, BBA led 48-33.
"[Harrington] came out aggressive, which is what we needed," Joey Shehadi said. "That intensity is what matters. We gave up a couple easy buckets, but just matching it at the other end and coming back to get a stop was what we did well."
During the final frame, BBA would lead by as many as 22 on a pair of free throws from Gadson on the way to the 18-point victory.
Smith finished with three assists and two steals for BBA, while Harrington added three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Noboa led all rebounders with 11, giving him a double-double on the day. Omari Brown had six points, three assists, and two steals for Mill River.
BBA improves to 11-0 with the win, while Mill River falls to 7-6. BBA returns to action on Tuesday at Brattleboro, the first of five-straight Division I games for the Bulldogs.
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