DENVER – Led by a combined 60 points by seniors Andrew Romero III and Jontrell Herman, the Johnson & Wales University men's basketball team earned an 83-69 win over visiting Texas Lutheran in a huge SCAC showdown Friday at the Wildcat Center.
Romero III (Northglenn, Colo.) finished with 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals while Herman (Duck Hill, Miss.) totaled 29 points, 12 rebounds and two assists to help the Wildcats earn the victory in a matchup of two of the top three teams in the league.
JWU also got key contributions from Bailey Stephens (seven points), Dakota Patton (five), Kevin Avalos (four), Gavin Spinks (four) and Charles Young (three) to put an end to TLU's six-game win streak.
The victory keeps JWU Denver (15-6 overall) right in the middle of the hunt for the SCAC regular season title at 8-4 with four games left to play. TLU (13-7 overall) remained in first place, but now just a half-game up on JWU at 8-3 in league play. Also on Friday night, Southwestern dropped to 7-3 in conference following a loss at Colorado College.
JWU Denver hosts Southwestern in another crucial late-season SCAC battle on Saturday at the Wildcat Center (6 p.m.).
"It's a big win for the Johnson & Wales community," Herman said. "We've got to give it back to the crowd. They gave us a lot of energy tonight, so I got to thank the crowd tonight for coming out and supporting us."
Herman scored 17 first-half points and Romero III had 13 at the break as the Wildcats grabbed a 37-35 edge at halftime. TLU erased the deficit in the first few minutes of the second half before a layup by Spinks (Meza, Ariz.) off a feed from Romero III regained the lead for JWU at the 11:41 mark. That was the start of the Wildcats' decisive 9-0 run to pull away, a stretch that included four free throws by Romero III following two technical fouls called on the Bulldogs.
Coach Quintin Groagan's team held TLU to 41.7 percent shooting from the floor, including a 20.8 percent clip behind the 3-point line while converting 20 points off 11 Bulldog turnovers.