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Men’s Basketball Takes Down Pioneers to Continue Perfect Start

Egzon Gjonbalaj, shown here in a previous game against New Jersey City University, scorched the Pioneers with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists in the Bulldogs’ 80-66 win Saturday. PHOTO/ Damion Reid

By Samip Delhiwala

Published: November  24, 2015

The Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss on the road to the Pioneers in last year’s season opener.

This year, Brooklyn made sure to take advantage of home court advantage in the rematch.

Edon Gjonbalaj scored 16 points, and Egzon Gjonbalaj flirted with a triple-double to lead the Brooklyn College Men’s Basketball team to an 80-66 win against William Paterson University at the West Quad Center on Saturday afternoon.

The game was mostly a single-digit one until seven minutes into the second half. With the Bulldogs (4-0) up 51-47, Niv Konfino scored inside the paint to make it 53-47.

BC then began to pull away from the Pioneers (3-1) at that point. The Gjonbalajs scored layups, and Konfino followed with a layup and-one before he knocked down the free throw.

Suddenly BC’s lead ballooned to 60-47 with just over ten minutes remaining in the game. The Bulldogs were well on their way to victory, as both teams mostly exchanged buckets until the sound of the final buzzer.

However, Brooklyn College struggled in the opening minutes.

BC won the opening tip. Egzon passed it to Edon, who laid it in to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

That was Brooklyn’s only lead until much later in the half.

The Pioneers held the Bulldogs scoreless for almost three minutes after Edon’s layup, as Terik Bridgeman drove in for a layup and drilled a three-pointer to start and cap off an 8-0 run that gave the road team an 8-2 lead.

A few minutes later, Bridgeman drained another triple, and BC’s Dillon Williams turned the ball over to Richy Espinal, who took it coast-to-coast on a fast break for an easy layup and a 15-6 William Paterson lead.

The Bulldogs’ head coach Rich Micallef then called a 20 second timeout to rejuvenate his team, with under 15 minutes remaining in the half.

That seemed to do the trick.

After the timeout, Edon laid the ball in to cut the Pioneers’ lead to 15-8. After another three minutes, BC’s Lorenzo Williams’ downtown shooting, Edon’s offensive rebounding, and Jamel Gist’s free throws had made it a 17-16 deficit.

The teams mostly traded buckets after that. Gist put in a clutch mid-range jumper with only two seconds remaining in the half, and BC went into locker rooms with a 37-32 lead.

Brooklyn and William Patterson University exchanged points again after the break until the Bulldogs were finally able to pull away.

Gist and the two Gjonbalajs led the Bulldogs in scoring, with 16 points each. Lorenzo Williams followed with 15.

Edon also had seven rebounds, while Williams racked up six.

Egzon recorded 12 boards and seven assists in his second double-double of the season.

For the Pioneers, Bridgeman led all scorers with 27 points, and he also picked up 10 rebounds for his own double-double.

The Bulldogs’ efficient scoring and defense made the difference, however, as they shot 49.2 percent from the field while holding William Paterson to a 42.4 percent clip.

BC also had a considerable advantage in second-chance points, as it outscored the Pioneers 11-4 in that area thanks to 11 offensive rebounds.

The Bulldogs look to remain undefeated when they face their first conference opponent of the season, the City College of New York, on the road 7 p.m. tonight.

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