SYRACUSE, N.Y. (LE MOYNE ATHLETICS) – Michael Bradley scored 22 points to lead third-ranked Mercyhurst University to a 74-62 victory over the Le Moyne College men’s basketball team on Thursday night at Ted Grant Court.

“I thought we looked like we belonged on the floor tonight, which was a great improvement,” said head coach Nate Champion ’14. “Obviously, we’ve played a top team in the country so far this year in IUP and we didn’t look ready to go in that one and I thought we were tonight. I thought our guys battled hard. Just a little spell in the second half kind of hurt us and I thought they beat us up pretty good on the boards, so we’ve got to be better at that. Part of that is on us as a staff and we’ve got to find ways to manufacture points when we go in slumps. I think we saw ourselves kind of waver on the defensive side of the ball as well.”

Third-year sophomore forward Luke Sutherland (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesee/Siena/Bryant) led the Dolphins in his debut in the green and gold with 17 points (10 in the second half), six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 22 minutes of action off the bench. Junior forward Xavier Wilson (Spring Valley, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac/The Hotchkiss School/Central Connecticut State) recorded 13 points in 13 minutes off the bench, while adding four rebounds.

Bradley tallied 12 of his game-high point total in the second half, while going 8-for-8 from the foul line. Cameron Gross registered 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists. MiyKah McIntosh scored 12 points on six points in each half.

The Lakers, the highest ranked non-conference team to play at Ted Grant Court, opened the game with eight of the first 10 points. Nicholas Lang scored the first four points and Bradley followed with the next four.

Following back-and-forth play, which resulted in Mercyhurst holding a 14-7 lead with 12:52 left in the half, the Dolphins tallied 12 of the game’s next 16 points to take their only lead of the game, 19-18, with 8:46 remaining. Sutherland scored or assisted on each of Le Moyne’s baskets in the stretch. He started the run with a lay-up, senior guard Payton Hudson (Yonkers, N.Y./Our Saviour Lutheran/Iona/Independence C.C.) followed with one of his own, redshirt freshman guard Christian Davis (Denver, Colo./Mullen/New Hampton School) drained a three-pointer from the top of the key, senior guard Nino Hernandez (Gardner, Mass./The Winchendon School/Bryant) scored in the paint and then Sutherland threw down a tomahawk dunk and made the ensuing free throw to put the Dolphins in front.

Mercyhurst, which won at Ted Grant Court for the first time in 11 matchups, responded with the next eight points to regain control of the game. McIntosh made a lay-up, Gross followed with back-to-back baskets in the paint and then Steve Cannady hit a jumper to put the Lakers up 26-19 with 5:00 left.

The teams traded points the remainder of the half as Mercyhurst’s lead bounced between three and seven points before settling at 37-33 following a fast-break lay-up off a steal by Sutherland.

The Dolphins scored the first two points of the second half to get within two, but the Lakers rattled off the next 14 to blow the game open. McIntosh started the streak with a lay-up and then Lang, Gross and Jeff Planutis drained three-pointers around a free throw by Aidan Reichert. Gross followed his three-pointer with a put-back lay-up to cap the run and put the Lakers up 51-35 with 11:53 to play.

Third-year sophomore guard Jeremiah Washington (Chicago, Ill./Bogan/Ferris State) hit a jumper in the paint in transition at the 11:21 mark to snap Le Moyne’s scoring drought of 8:22. Planutis followed with a three-pointer to give Mercyhurst its largest lead of the game at 17 points.

Following a jumper by Bradley to give Mercyhurst a 58-43 lead with 7:29 left, the Dolphins scored six straight points and nine of the next 11 to get within eight, but could not get any closer. Redshirt freshman guard Kevin Constant (Lawrence, Mass./Central Catholic/Tilton School) made two free throws, Wilson hit a jumper in the paint and then knocked down another jumper to make it 58-49 with 5:21 left. After two Bradley free throws, Wilson made a foul shot and then Sutherland scored in the paint to cut the margin to eight with 4:40 remaining.

After the teams traded points over the next two minutes, Mercyhurst closed out the game by going 10-for-10 from the foul line down the stretch to seal the victory.

COURTESY OF LE MOYNE ATHLETICS