PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a special night in Baltimore Monday for the Division II Chestnut Hill College men’s basketball team.
The Griffins went on the road and did something they have never done before – beat a Division I opponent. Chestnut Hill defeated Coppin State, 76-73.
“Watching the film and seeing what they had versus what we had, I thought we had a really good chance,” Chestnut Hill head coach Jesse Balcer tells KYW Newsradio.
“We had played a really tough game on Sunday at Southern New Hampshire (88-64 loss). We were on a bus for eight hours on Saturday, eight hours on Sunday and then another three hours down to Coppin State, so I was a little concerned about that. But at the end of the day, it’s basketball, these kids are 19-22 years old, they’re in great shape and I thought if they can kind of approach the game the right way, which it seems like they did, we had a good chance to win.”
Listen to the entire interview with Chestnut Hill’s Jesse Balcer:
The Griffins nearly led wire-to-wire in this one, holding off the Eagles down the stretch. Balcer says his team handled the final minutes well.
“Totally calm,” he says. “We just talked a lot about, I think I said it about three or four times, ‘Play to win. Don’t play to not lose, just keep playing to win.'”
All five starters for Chestnut Hill scored in double figures against the 0-8 Eagles with junior guard Demetrius Isaac leading the way with 18 points.
Balcer knows this was an important victory, but he is also keeping it in perspective.
“It means the world to the program and I think it’s totally awesome,” he says. “But honestly, it’s a basketball game and it was a great, great experience, the guys loved it, they were dancing in the locker room and having a great time. But as a coach, I think I’ve always learned from the coaches that I’ve played for and the coaches that I’ve coached along with, (Philadelphia University Hall of Fame) Coach (Herb) Magee in particular, that every game is important. Every time you win, it’s huge, whether you’re playing Division II, Division III or Division I.”
The Griffins also can’t get too caught up in Monday night’s win because they play a critical Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference game on Wednesday night, on the road against Holy Family.
“We have a lot of respect for that program,” Balcer says. “So the talk about (Monday) night was let’s enjoy it, but (Tuesday), we’ve got to get right back and focus because we have a huge game against the defending champs in their building.”
That game on Wednesday against Holy Family will tip-off at 8:00 p.m.