Gontikas goes gonzo on M.C.L.A. as Violets win third straight in rout

Center Costas Gontikas scored a career high in N.Y.U.’s win against M.C.L.A.
Center Costas Gontikas scored a career high in N.Y.U.’s win against M.C.L.A.

BY DANIEL JEAN-LUBIN  |  The New York University men’s basketball team picked up its third win of the season after an 83-62 victory over the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on Sat., Nov. 23, at home, at Coles Sports Center, at Mercer and Bleecker Sts.

Costis Gontikas, the team’s sophomore center, from Athens, Greece, played the game of his life. He scored a career-high 21 points, in addition to scooping up six rebounds, while adding a pair of blocks on the defensive side of the ball.

The Violets (3-0) entered this early-season matchup averaging 82 points a game, while the M.C.L.A. Trailblazers (2-2) were coming off two straight victories after being blown out 91-55 in their first game of the season.

M.C.L.A. missed their first 10 shots as N.Y.U. built an early lead. The Violets charged out of the gate scoring the game’s first 16 points before the Trailblazers’ head coach, Jamie Morrison, who was clearly distressed at the early tone of the game, called a timeout.

After some words from their coach, the Trailblazers got on the scoreboard when Ruben Delrosario managed to connect on a layup at the 13:58 mark of the first half.

The Violets stayed on their game, however, and continued to stick to their plan of taking high-percentage shots in the paint while playing stout defense on the other end of the court.

N.Y.U. continued to pad their lead. They went on a 15-7 run, with Gontikas contributing eight of the team’s points in that span, making the score 31-9 with 7:10 left in the first period.

M.C.L.A. would then begin an offensive stretch of their own, using a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to 13 points, 35-22, with two and a half minutes left to play in the half. But M.C.L.A. couldn’t make another field goal, and the Violets took a 37-22 lead into halftime.

The second half began exactly as the first did, with N.Y.U. storming out again — this time, outscoring the Trailblazers 16-3 to take a 53-25 lead within the first five minutes of play.

The Trailblazers would never get closer than within 22 points of the Violets, who held on to win comfortably and notch a 3-0 record at home.

With the victory, N.Y.U. also continues their streak of keeping opponents under 70 points a game so far this season.

“It’s an exciting time in our program, for both our newcomers and our veterans,” said Head Coach Joe Nesci.

The Violets’ next home game is Wed., Dec. 4, when they host U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at 7 p.m.