PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia University men's basketball head coach Herb Magee became the first coach in NCAA men's basketball history to post 950 career wins after the Rams defeated visiting Chestnut Hill, 67-63, in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) contest Saturday afternoon in Sorgenti Arena.
In his 46th season of being a head coach, all of them with his alma mater, Magee has reached 950 wins in 1,331 career games. Magee, the all-time wins leader in NCAA men's basketball history, owns a career record of 950-381 for a winning percentage of .714.
All five starters for the Rams (9-6, 5-2 CACC) scored in double figures, led by 17 points from senior guard Jim Connolly (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton Area).
Freshman forward Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) and junior guard Nick Christian (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) both recorded double-doubles. Alexis had 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Christian contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Mark DiRugeris paced Chestnut Hill (7-8, 3-3 CACC) with a game-high 21 points.
The Rams were down 11-7 after DiRugeris canned a jumper at the 14:47 mark of the first half.
Philadelphia took control of the game by going on a 22-3 run, led by eight points from Alexis and six from Connolly, over a 9:27 span to take a 29-14 advantage. A made jumper by freshman guard TJ Huggins (Alexandria, Va./TC Williams) with 58 seconds left in the half gave the Rams a 39-23 lead.
In the second half, Connolly drained two free throws that allowed Philadelphia to take a game-high 17-point lead (51-34) with 13:47 left to play.
Down 57-40 with 10:43 remaining, Chestnut Hill made its move to get back in the game. The Griffins, behind seven points from Christian Walck, outscored the Rams 21-8 over a 6:31 stretch to close the gap to 59-54. Philadelphia's lead was trimmed to 66-63 on a Alssene Saintlus dunk with 17 seconds left.
After a Griffin foul one second later, Alexis went 1-of-2 at the free throw line to extend the lead to four.
Philadelphia shot 38.6 percent (22-of-57) from the field, including 25.0 percent (5-of-20) from three. Chestnut Hill hit 40.4 percent (23-of-57) of its shot, 30.0 percent (6-of-20) from behind the arc. The Rams outrebounded the Griffins 45-30, and owned a 14-2 second-chance points advantage.
Philadelphia returns home on Wednesday, Jan. 16 to take on Washington Adventist in its final non-conference game of the year. Tip time is 6 p.m.