SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – Junior guard DJ Alicea is having one of those seasons.
Alicea poured in a game-high 27 points, including 25 in the second half, to lift Dayton to a 57-45 victory over rival and neighbor Brearley Thursday in Springfield.
Alicea, a three-year starter who is averaging 24.9 points per game thus far this season, has scored in double figures in 32 consecutive games dating back to last year.
Senior guard Vinny Pulice added 11 points for his first double-digit scoring performance of the season for Dayton, which used a 36-25 second half to secure the win and improve to 8-0 in their home gym on Mountain Avenue.
“We played pretty well as a team tonight. Individually, I think we need to talk more and to keep our heads in our games at all times throughout the season. I also need to wake up in the first half to make it easier on everyone throughout the game,” said Alicea. “As long as we continue to play defense and move the ball on offense and stay focused on the game, we’re going to be a hard team to beat. Homecourt matters a lot and my teammates and I understand that and have protected it. We plan to continue this streak.”
Dayton (9-1), which has won nine straight games for the first time since opening up the 2012-13 season with 13 straight victories en route to a 22-6 record.
Trailing 12-6 after the first quarter, Dayton outscored Brearley, 15-8, in the second quarter to take a 21-20 halftime lead.
Junior Antonino Principato scored 13 points, including 8-for-8 from the charity stripe and junior Ibn McLean added 12 for Brearley (6-6), which suffered its four straight loss. Last year, Brearley dropped the season-series to Dayton, losing 62-46 on the road in its season opener and dropped a 49-42 decision at home on Jan. 18.
Pending weather, the Bulldogs return to the court on Monday - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – to start a four-game road trip as they visit Hillside for a 1 p.m. tipoff and visit neighbor Roselle Park on Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. start.
Bulldog Bits: Currently, Alicea has 728 career points … You can vote for Alicea as one of the top junior basketball players in the state on a poll conducted by NJ.com HERE – voting concludes on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 12 p.m.