"As soon as we stepped foot on campus, we all loved each other," Reyes said of the seniors. "There's no separate groups on our team, we all stick together as a family. We've got each other's back. And as far as basketball, we've come together so good and I think that's why coach is so happy with us."
An underclassman on the Seton Hill side almost ruined the feel-good story. The Griffins' Matt Miller poured in a team-best 26 points, including 6-for-9 from 3-point range, and, more importantly, seemed to strike every time UC whittled the gap to within striking distance.
As a team, the Griffins shot a crisp 10-of-15 from beyond the 3-point arc and 53.7 percent from the floor. But despite the numbers, Griffins coach Tony Morocco wasn't pleased with his squad's execution down the stretch.
"We had people trying to make plays out of our offense and we gave them an opportunity to make a run," Morocco said. "The whole deal was, two or three possessions we broke our offensive pattern and gave them an opportunity. They're big, they're way bigger than us and we got into foul trouble. They're a great team, but we had them beat."
After some bumps in the road for the Golden Eagles this season, including a 60-59 home loss to West Virginia State on Jan. 17 (UC's last loss), the team seems to have a much better grasp on how to play with each other, and just in time for the postseason.
Downey went as far as to say his team wouldn't have won Saturday's game had it been played a month ago.
"No, not at all," Downey said. "State and at Wheeling were in the same situations where we were down late and we didn't pull it out. We don't win this game a month ago, so hopefully we're maturing at the right time."
Espinosa scored 16 points and had 15 boards for Charleston while Faulkner chipped in 15 points. Chris Giles scored 14 points for Seton Hill (10-14, 8-12) and Andrew Cressler added 12.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.