By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Division II Holy Family men’s basketball team made program history on Tuesday night. Their 65-62 win over Herb Magee’s Philadelphia University squad marked the first time in 24 tries that the Tigers had beaten the Rams.
One of the big reasons why the Tigers were able to get the goose egg out of the win column in this series was the play of Ervin Ezell. The junior guard scored 19 points on 7 of 11 shooting and really took the game over down the stretch. He scored 10 of his points over the final 5:09 of the game while showing off just about everything in his arsenal – an explosive first step, deep range and clutch foul shooting.
LISTEN: Matt Leon interviews Ervin Ezell
This was just the latest in a season’s worth of wonderful performances for Ezell. A transfer from Shaw University, the 6’4″ Ezell is averaging 20.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists a game in his first season as a Tiger. He also went into the Philly U game leading the nation in steals per contest (has 36 thefts total on the year). All this is making his head coach at Holy Family, R.C. Kehoe, a very happy man.
“When I had the opportunity to recruit Erv, and he said he wanted to transfer, I welcomed him with open arms,” Kehoe tells KYW Newsradio. “And I told him simply, ‘Look, the ball is going to be in your hands, and I’m going to let you win or lose games for us. You’re going to have help, but I need you to be a leader, I need you to be that guy. When things get shaky, you have to be the guy that settles it down’. What he’s done for us in our first eight games . . I can’t say enough.”
LISTEN: Matt Leon interviews R.C. Kehoe
The transition into the program has obviously been smooth for Ezell and he says even he’s a little surprised at how much success he’s having right away.
“I didn’t know what the competition was like in this league (CACC), I’d never seen it,” Ezell says. “But once I got here, they put the ball in my hands . . . I couldn’t let my team down. So I had to do what I had to do.”
“I felt like I needed to be closer to home, more support here, because I live right over the bridge in Jersey. Thought it was a better move.”
As for the rest of the season, Ezell says his goals are simple.
“Get wins, win the conference, go to the tournament. Do what we’ve got to do.”
Ezell and the Tigers return to the court on Saturday when they host Concordia College.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.