Men's Basketball Starts 2019 with a Win over Culinary Institute, 63-54

Men's Basketball Starts 2019 with a Win over Culinary Institute, 63-54

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - January 6, 2019 - Behind 16 points and 18 rebounds from junior forward Akil Phillip (Queens, N.Y.), the Pratt Institute men's basketball team secured a 63-54 win over the Culinary Institute of America on Sunday afternoon at the Hill Center on the campus of St. Joseph's College in Clinton Hill.

Culinary falls to 2-5 overall, while Pratt is now 6-4 on the year. In the Cannoneers' first action in 2019, they shot 18-of-54 (33.3%) in the victory but were able to knock down 23-30 from the line. Pratt also held a 45-36 advantage on the glass over 40 minutes of play.

Phillip's season-high 18 rebounds led all players, while Griffin Levine (Dallas, Tex.) and Tytus Millikan (Winnemucca, Nev.) combined for 31 points. Senior guard, Bubby Vernon (Boulder, Col.), contributed nine points, eight rebounds, and four assists off the bench in 21 minutes.

Leading the Steels was Christian Castanho, who scored 29 points, and played all 40 minutes.

Culinary started the game making four out of their first five shots, and jumped out to a 10-3 lead with 16:22 to go in the first half, forcing Pratt to call a 30-second timeout. The Cannoneers would go on a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 10-9, only to have the Steels respond with a 10-0 run, capped by a Castanho jump shot at the 12:12 mark, to make it 19-9, and Pratt head coach Max Sass would take another timeout. In the final ten minutes of first half action, the Cannoneers would make 14 free throws to climb back from down as many as 11, to being only down 31-30 heading into the locker room. Culinary shot 12-27 from the field in the opening 20 minutes, with Castanho going 8-10, including 4-6 from three, to lead all scorers with 21 points.

Following back-to-back baskets from David Sleziak (Brooklyn, N.Y.) within a span of 22 seconds at the 17:13 mark cut the deficit, 37-36. Another fastbreak layup from Sleziak, off an assist from Phillip with 14:30 remaining in the game gave Pratt its first lead of the contest, 42-41. After four lead changes, Millikan would drill a jump shot at 11:48 to give the Cannoneers the lead for good, 46-45. Vernon's three-pointer with 9:53 to go pushed the lead to 51-45, and forced the Steels to call a full timeout. A 6-0 run by Phillip himself would give Pratt a commanding 57-47 lead, with 8:32 remaining. Millikan would finish in the paint with 51 seconds left to close out the scoring for both sides, 63-54, and seal the win for the Cannoneers.

Up Next: Pratt Institute will travel to Providence to take on the Rhode Island School of Design on Saturday, January 12. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 PM. This will be the second time the Cannoneers have faced RISD this season, as they defeated the School of Design 79-43, in the S.J. Picariello Tip-Off Classic on November 17, 2018.