Release Courtesy of St. Joseph's Athletics
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Helped by the 11th double-double of the season by junior David Louison (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep), the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team remained undefeated in Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) play and moved a season-high five games over .500 with a 71-53 victory over Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on Alumni Day at Brooklyn Technical High School on Saturday.
St. Joseph's (13-8, 5-0 HVIAC) wins their season-high-tying fourth game in a row and with a win Tuesday night against Sarah Lawrence will clinch their first regular season HVIAC title since the 2009-10 season. Albany Pharmacy (7-10, 3-3 HVIAC) has now lost two out of three and falls a full game behind Vaughn College for the fourth and final spot in the season-ending HVIAC Tournament.
Louison added to his double-double collection, finishing with a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds, shooting a blistering 11-of-15 from the field. The junior added four assists, three steals, and two blocks on the way to his 35th career double-double. Junior Vernon Maddox (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's) chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Sophomore Michael Megafu (Brooklyn, N.Y./Nazareth Regional) nearly recorded his team-leading 14th double-double of the year, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds.
The Panthers used a balanced approach on offense, finishing with four players in double figures led by Ryan McVaigh who had 14 points and nine rebounds. John Tremblay had 13 points while St. Joseph's held the leading scorer in the HVIAC, Casey Redfern, to only 12 points.
Senior David Ortiz (Brooklyn, N.Y./Christ the King) nailed a trifecta to open the contest, but Albany Pharmacy came right back with a 10-2 run that gave them a 10-5 lead with 14:24 left in the opening half and it looked like the Bears may be in for a close game.
However, the Bears responded with a 26-11 run over ten minutes, capped off by a pair ofFrancisco Escobedo (El Paso, Texas/Santa Teresa) triples, to take their first double-digit lead of the game at 31-21 with 4:20 left in the opening frame.
The two teams went back-and-forth for the remainder of the half with the Panthers ending the half on a mini 5-2 run to cut the deficit to single digits, 37-30, heading into the locker rooms.
After subpar 35.9 percent shooting in the first half by St. Joseph's, the Bears would pick it up on the offensive end in the second half, shooting 44.1 percent. St. Joseph's began the second stanza with a 8-0 run on 4-of-6 shooting to build a 45-30 lead with 17:53 left to play in the game.
The Bears built the lead up to 18, 58-40, with 10 minutes left to play, but the Panthers stormed back with eight unanswered of their own to trim the St. Joseph's lead to 58-48 with just under six minutes to play, forcing a Coach Cocozello timeout. The Bears scored seven points in a row coming out of the timeout, helped by an increased intensity on the defensive end, to up their lead back to 17, 65-48, with four minutes to play and coasted the rest of the way.
Redfern nailed a trifecta at the end of the first half to cut the St. Joseph's lead to seven, 37-30, heading into halftime and it looked like Albany Pharmacy may make a game of it. However, the duo of Maddox and Megafu dampened those hopes scoring four points apiece on an 8-0 Bears run that gave them a 45-30 lead with 17:53 left to play.
The Panthers got within 10, 58-48, with 5:56 left to play, forcing a St. Joseph's timeout, but the Bears responded with a 7-0 run to up the lead to 65-48 with 4:13 left to play and would cruise the rest of the way.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Other Contributors: Greg Beehler (7 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast) Ortiz (6 pts, 3 ast) Escobedo (6 pts)
- After improving their shooting in the second half, the Bears finished the night at 39.7 percent (29-of-73) from the floor, while holding the Panthers to 33.8 percent (22-of-65) shooting on the night.
- The two teams were nearly even on the board with Albany Pharmacy holding a slight 49-47 edge.
- The Bears distributed the ball well all night, finishing with 20 assists on 29 made field goals.
- Neither team shot particularly well from beyond the arc with St. Joseph's making 27.3 percent (6-of-22) of their attempts, while the Bears stingy defense held the Panthers to 16.7 percent (3-of-18).
- Both teams struggled at the line all night with the Bears connecting on only 38.9 percent (7-of-18) of their attempts. Albany Pharmacy wasn't much better making 54.5 percent (6-of-11) of their free throws.
- St. Joseph's used its full-court defense to force 19 Panther turnovers leading to a 30-10 edge in points off turnovers.
THE BEAR FACTS
- The Bears improve to 11-3 all-time against Albany Pharmacy, having won the last four meetings.
- St. Joseph's has now won six of their last seven games as they look to make a late-season push towards a USCAA Tournament appearance, coming into today's game ranked No. 11 in the latest coaches' poll released yesterday.
- Louison came into today's action ranked No. 6 among Division III active career leaders in double-doubles, one shy of fifth place.
NEXT UP FOR THE BEARS
St. Joseph's returns to action on Tuesday, February 4th, looking to clinch the HVIAC regular season title against Sarah Lawrence at Brooklyn Technical High School with the tip set for 7:30 p.m.