Second-half surge leads JWU Denver past Caltech

Second-half surge leads JWU Denver past Caltech

PASADENA, Calif. – An early second-half surge turned a close contest into a convincing road win for the Johnson & Wales University men's basketball team on Thursday night.

With the game tied at 36 five minutes into the second half, the Wildcats (7-1) ripped off an 8-0 run in less than two minutes to regain the lead for good in a 74-56 victory over Caltech at the Braun Athletic Center.

JWU Denver guard Jontrell Herman recorded his fourth 30-point game of the season, finishing right at the mark to go with nine rebounds and three assists. Running mate Andrew Romero III totaled 22 points, five boards and two assists to help the Wildcats earn their second straight road win.

Both Herman (Duck Hill, Miss.) and Romero III (Northglenn, Colo.) went 8-of-10 at the free throw line.

King Grant-Perry added eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and four rebounds for the Wildcats, who held the Beavers (2-2) to 37.9 percent shooting and racked up at least a dozen steals as a team for the fifth time this year.

The 8-0 run was started with a 3-pointer by Romero III, who then sank a pair of free throws following a block by Jordan Miles. Herman then capped off the stretch with a one of his four 3-balls on the night. Caltech closed within six soon after, but JWU was able to steadily pull away down the stretch, leading by double digits over the game's final seven minutes.

"We got back to what we're known for – defense and rebounding and applying extreme ball pressure," Grant-Perry (Cleveland, Ohio) said of the second-half surge. "We came out lackadaisical in the first half, but after Coach got on us, we got back to our roots of playing defense."

Gokul Srini scored 11 points and teammate Alec Andrews had 10 for the Beavers, who struggled from behind the arc (6-of-22, 27.3 percent) and attempted just seven free throws (6-of-7) compared to the Wildcats' 20 (16-of-20).

The Wildcats had a chance to do some sightseeing around the Los Angeles area -- coach Quintin Grogan's hometown -- before the game, visiting the Wrigley Mansion, the Gamble House and the Norton Simon Museum among other stops.

"The trip has been great," Grant-Perry said. "In previous years we were an NAIA team, and last year we played a lot of DI and DII games, so we went to a lot of places like South Dakota and Kansas. So going to a place like Cali has been awesome. You just drive down the street and you could see anything. Coach has welcomed us to his home and we ate some great food."

JWU continues the trip Friday at Chapman (8 p.m.) followed by rematch with Whittier on Saturday (6 p.m.).