Men's Basketball

St. Joseph's Men's Basketball Comeback Bid Comes Up Short At Vassar

Release Courtesy of St. Joseph's Athletics

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team trailed by as many as 20 points against Vassar College before cutting the deficit to two with 4:54 remaining but the deficit proved too much to overcome as the Bears succumbed to the Brewers 69-60 on Tuesday night at the Athletics and Fitness Center Gymnasium.

St. Joseph's (7-7) loses their second game in a row following their season-high four-game winning streak while Vassar (8-1) heads into Liberty League play having won eight in a row.

Leading four Bears in double figures was the double-double duo of sophomore Michael Megafu (Brooklyn, N.Y./Nazareth Regional) and junior David Louison (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep). Megafu finished the night with a game-high 19 points and snagged 10 boards for his ninth double-double of the year. Louison tallied 15 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year.

Also reaching double digits for St. Joseph's was junior Vernon Maddox (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's)who poured in 11 points, all in the second half, while securing five boards. Sophomore Matt O'Neill (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) chipped in 10 points, 4 rebounds and three steals to the Bears cause.

Pacing the Brewers attack was leading scorer on the year Johnny Mrlik who dropped in a team-high 15 points, nine of them coming in the first five minutes of the second half.

The opening half was an offensive struggle for St. Joseph's as they shot only 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from the floor in the period but used the charity stripe to their advantage going to the line 15 times compared to the five for Vassar. Despite the poor shooting half by the Bears and 46.2 percent (12-of-26) shooting by the Brewers, St. Joseph's headed into the locker rooms only down by eight, 31-23.

Vassar parlayed a layup at the end of the half and three consecutive triples to build a 40-23 lead less than two minutes into the second half forcing a Bears timeout. The Brewers built their lead to 20, 52-32, at the 13:40 mark and it looked like it was going to be an easy victory for the hosts.

However, St. Joseph's had other plans going on a run of their own after Vassar had built the 20-point advantage, cutting the deficit to two, 57-55, with 4:54 left. That would be the closest the Bears got as the Brewers held on for the victory.

TURNING POINT

After Vassar built their largest lead of the night at 52-32 on a layup by Luka Ladan, St. Joseph's had one last fight left in them and went on a 23-5 run helped by increased activity on the defensive end. The duo of Louison and Megafu helped lead the charge scoring 14 of the points during the pivotal run. The Brewers went ice cold from the field and the pressure applied by the Bears helped lead to easier shots then they had in the first half on the offensive end.

A Maddox layup got the Bears within two at 57-55 but the Brewers responded with a layup and a trifecta that pushed the lead back up to 62-55 with 3:33 left and St. Joseph's would not threaten again as the 20-point deficit proved too much to come back from.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Other Contributor: Ian Duff (3 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl)
  • After subpar shooting in the first half, the Bears upped their connect rate to 35.3 percent (12-of-34) in the second half to finish the game at 30.2 percent (19-of-63).
  • Vassar continued their strong shooting in the second half making 48.3 percent (14-of-29) of their shots to finish the night at a 47.3 percent (26-of-55) clip.
  • The Brewers used the trifecta to their advantage shooting an efficient 42.9 (9-of-21) percent from beyond the arc, including making six treys in the second half.
  • Vassar held its own on the boards outrebounding the Bears 44-37 on the night.
  • St. Joseph's was able to get to the line going 19-of-31 (61.3 percent) from the charity stripe compared to 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) for the Brewers.
  • The Bears used 17 Vassar turnovers to get back in the game and held a 19-7 edge in points off turnovers after committing just seven turnovers of their own.
  • The Brewers won the battle of the benches securing a sizeable 25-5 edge.

THE BEAR FACTS

  • Vassar takes a 4-3 lead in the all-time series and hold a 3-1 lead in meetings on their home court.
  • In the latest NCAA statistics report for games played through 1/5, Megafu was ranked No. 2 in Division III with eight double-doubles. Despite picking up his ninth today, he still remains one behind the national leader, Bobby Brackett of The College of New Jersey.
  • Louison's double-double was the 30th of his career and is now 30 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
  • O'Neill is now three steals shy of 100 for his career.

NEXT UP FOR THE BEARS

St. Joseph's looks to bounce back taking on borough rivals Brooklyn College at Brooklyn Technical High School on Monday, January 13th at 9 p.m.