STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College 9-6, 4-2 GNAC) edged Mount Ida College (8-6, 2-3 GNAC), 71-67, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball action at the Harold Alfond Center on Tuesday evening.
Junior guard Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) scored a game-high 26 points with six rebounds and four assists and the Monks went 7-8 from the free throw line in the closing 46 seconds in a thrilling seesaw conference battle that featured 15 lead changes and eight ties while neither team held a lead greater than five points.
THE REST OF THE STORY:
The 15th and final lead swap occurred at the 2:21 mark of the second half, when junior guard Darian Berry (Rochester, N.H.) sank a pair of freebies to lift the Monks to a 62-61 lead. The game was a one-possession proposition until Berry connected for two more free throws, accounting for the 71-67 final, with three seconds left.
The end of the contest could have played out differently if not for a turnover via offensive charge called against the Mustangs in the closing seconds. With his team trailing 69-67, Mount Ida senior guard Joey DeFillippi (Bristol, Conn.) drove to the basket, but St. Joe's freshman point guard Tatsuaki Sakai (Japan) stood his ground and absorbed the charge to set up the Berry free throws, which essentially clinched the victory.
STAT OF THE GAME:
Saint Joseph's shot 35.7% (10-28) from three-point distance compared to a 23.8% (5-21) performance by Mount Ida.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Mileikis was 9-15 from the field with a 5-8 performance from three-point range and posted a 4-1 turnover/assist effort
- Berry went 6-6 from the stripe with 14 points, six boards, and five assists
- Sakai tallied 11 points and three assists while logging a game-high 38 minutes
- Freshman Jack Casale (Portland, Maine/Cheverus) added five points and a team-high seven caroms off the bench
LEADERS – MOUNT IDA:
- DeFillippi paced the Mustangs with 19 points and added five boards, three assists, and a pair of steals
- Sophomore forward Kevin Vanderhorst (Lawrence, Mass.) chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench
- Senior guard Jayson Clark (Austin, Texas) produced nine points, five caroms, and two assists
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 18-6 in the history of the series with Mount Ida College and snaps a five-game losing streak at the hands of the Mustangs. The Monks' last victory over Mount Ida, a 75-64 triumph in Newton, took place on January 19th, 2015.
Saint Joseph's will host GNAC-rival Anna Maria College on Saturday in 3:00 PM tip-off.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.