Daytona Beach, Fla. – Playing about an hour from his hometown, Clark University senior Lamar Berk (Saint Augustine, Fla.) scored the go-ahead basket in the waning moments and the Cougars rallied for a 75-71 win over Edgewood University in their first game at the Land of Magic Classic.
Score: Clark University 75, Edgewood University 71
Records: Clark University 8-2, Edgewood University 2-7
Location: Ocala Center, Daytona Beach, Fla.
The Scarlet and White shot 54 percent from the field in the first half as they produced 41 points in the opening 20 minutes and led by as many as ten before settling for a three point halftime advantage.
Clark actually found itself trailing 71-68 with 1:32 to play when Berk ignited a contest-closing 7-0 run to give the Cougars the victory.
Down by three, Berk connected on a pair of free throws to inch Clark closer with 1:13 to go.
John Pisacreta (Andover, Mass.) collected a steal on the ensuing Edgewood possession which led to a Joe Atkinson (Milford, Mass.) three-point attempt. That shot was off but Berk was there to haul in the offensive rebound and lay in the go ahead score with 31 seconds to play.
Edgewood committed another turnover on its next trip down the court – this one courtesy of a David Mercier (Milford, Mass.) steal – which led to a Pisacreta finish to put the Scarlet and White ahead 74-71 with less than ten seconds to play.
After their hot-shooting first half, Clark cooled down considerably in the final 20 minutes, connecting on just 28 percent in the second half but the Cougars used a 39-20 edge on the glass to get 24 second chance points on their way to victory.
Atkinson finished with a team-best 19 points and ten boards, while Luca McCormick (Bradenton, Fla.) had 18 points for Clark. Berk ended with ten points and fellow frontcourt starter Mercier added 15.
Clark, now winners of five straight, will wrap up their stay in the Sunshine State with a contest against Lebanon Valley on Thursday at 9:00 p.m.