STANDISH, Maine - #7 University of Saint Joseph (16-11) defeated #6 Saint Joseph's College (19-8), 91-86, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Basketball Tournament Semifinal at the Harold Alfond Center on Thursday evening.
With the victory, the Blue Jays advance to the GNAC Championship and will play at top-seeded Albertus Magnus College at 1:00 PM on Saturday. The Falcons topped #4 Emmanuel College, 104-93, in the other semifinal this evening and will be playing in the conference title contest for the eighth-consecutive season.
For the Monks, the loss signals the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Monks trailed by 11 points (86-75) with 4:43 remaining in the second quarter but assembled an 11-3 run over the following four minutes to make it an 89-86 game with 48 seconds left.
On the next trip down the floor for USJ, senior Jack Hostetler (Somers, Conn.) took a charge on a Delshawn Jackson (Hartford, Conn.) drive to give his team a chance to tie. Following a timeout, SJC had a chance to tie but an awkward-angle three-point attempt from the left baseline was off the mark. Jackson pulled down the defensive rebound, was fouled, and hit both freebies at the other end to put the game away.
A layup from senior forward Marc Corey (Londonderry, N.H.) with 7:29 remaining in the first half cut the Monks' deficit to 35-30, a score that was frozen on scoreboard for over three minutes, as the hosts were unable to capitalize on defensive stops with an 0-for-6 shooting effort and a pair of turnovers during the scoreless stretch.
The Blue Jays were the first to break free from the drought and outscored the Monks by a 13-5 margin in the four minutes leading up to intermission and headed to the locker room with a 48-35 cushion.
University of Saint Joseph held a game-high 15-point lead after Nadir Dixon-Thompson (Dorchester, Mass.) made a layup at the 16:37 mark of the second stanza and proceeded to hold an advantage of no less than seven points until sophomore guard Tatsuaki Sakai (Ishikawa, Japan) made a pair of free throws midway through the aforementioned late run.
STATS OF THE GAME:
USJ held a 52-40 points-in-the-paint advantage with a 14-7 lead in second-chance points…The Monks shot 31.0% (9-29) from three-point range – their lowest success rate since posting a 30% clip in a loss to Tufts on November 16th, 2018 and third worst percentage of the season.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Sophomore guard Jack Casale (Portland, Maine/Cheverus) led all players with 30 points and added eight rebounds and four assists
- Senior guard Darian Berry (Rochester, N.H.) scored 17 points and pulled down four boards
- Hostetler came off the bench to score 12 points with five caroms and three dimes
- Senior guard Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) chipped in with 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists
LEADERS – UNIVERSITY OF SAINT JOSEPH:
- Jackson paced the Blue Jays with 23 points and added eight assists and seven rebounds
- Freshman guard Chris Childs (Bronx, N.Y.) poured in 20 points with six assists and three boards
- Dixon-Thompson scored 16 points with nine rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench
- Freshman guard Noreaga Davis (Bridgeport, Conn.) added 14 points, seven caroms, and three assists
- Freshman forward Jake Sullivan (Branford, Conn.) contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, and three assists
Tonight's loss signals the end of collegiate basketball for the Monks' five seniors: Berry, Corey, Hostetler, Mileikis, and Andrew Carroll (Douglas, Mass.). This quintet has helped Saint Joseph's post a 56-49 (.533) overall record with a 33-30 (.524) mark in GNAC play and four conference tournament appearances.
Berry, Corey, Hostetler, Mileikis and Carroll combined to score 3,443 points with 1,269 rebounds, 746 assists, and 240 steals over 105 games. Berry (1,275) and Mileikis (1,262) are both members of the Monks' 1,000-Point Club.