Men's Basketball Races Past RISD, 79-43 in the S.J. Picariello Tip-Off Classic

First-year Levine nailed five three-pointers on Saturday.
First-year Levine nailed five three-pointers on Saturday.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - November 17, 2018 - The Pratt Institute men's basketball team had three players score in double figures and raced past the Rhode Island School of Design, 79-43, in the S.J. Picariello Tip-Off Classic in the Pratt ARC on Saturday afternoon.

In its inaugural event, the Classic offered an opportunity for men's basketball alumni to return to Clinton Hill to honor the legendary coach Picariello, who was an innovator and integral part of Pratt's basketball success in the 1950's and 1960's. Some of the alumni to return to campus included Cyndi Meserve Bona, the first woman to play on a NCAA men's varsity team, and Anthony Hayward, known for his time on the And 1 Mixtape Tour as ½ Man, ½ Amazing.

The win extended Pratt's winning streak to two as the Cannoneers improved their record to 2-1, while the setback dropped RISD to 0-1.

Griffin Levine (Dallas, Tex.) led all scorers with 28 points to go along with six boards and five assists for Pratt, while Akil Philip (Queens, N.Y.) netted 14 points and pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.  Bubby Vernon (Boulder, CO) chipped in 10 points, and Jason Yao (Vancouver, B.C.) was credited with eight points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.  Pratt held a 61-37 edge on the glass, including a 27-8 advantage on the offensive boards, which resulted in 11 second-chance points.  

The Cannoneers jumped out to a 14-0 lead following a layup from Philip and a three-pointer from Levine in the opening 5 minutes of the game, and a triple by Vernon at the 10:47 mark gave the hosts a 23-8 cushion. RISD would battle back to within 32-15, thanks to a jumper by Xaiver Hardison with 8:43 on the clock, but Pratt responded with a 14-8 push, capped off by a Eric Jeon (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) finish close out the first half, 48-23.

RISD would start the second half on a 9-2 run, before Hamza Hamdeh (Brooklyn, N.Y.) would drill a shot from beyond the arc with 16:45 to go, with Pratt up 53-30. With 7:55 remaining, RISD's Malik Sealy would nail a jumper to bring the score to 64-43, before the Pratt defense clamped down and did not allow another point by the visitors. The Cannoneers would close out the game on a 15-0 run, with a bucket from David Sleziak (Brooklyn, N.Y.), and free throws from Yao to complete the game's scoring for the 79-43 final.

Up Next: Pratt will play one more game before the Thanksgiving Break, when they host Touro College on Tuesday, November 20 at 8:30 PM at the ARC.