Release Courtesy of St. Joseph's Athletics
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Senior David Ortiz (Brooklyn, N.Y./Christ the King) scored a career- and game-high 22 points on Senior Night as the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team held off a John Jay College for a 70-67 triumph on Tuesday evening at Brooklyn Technical High School.
Ortiz drained 4-of-7 from behind-the-arc, sank 6-of-7 from the charity stripe and grabbed six rebounds in his career game, leading three in double figures for the Bears (16-9), winners of seven of their last eight.
Michael Megafu (Brooklyn, N.Y./Nazareth Regional) and David Louison (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) both contributed double-doubles to the win. Megafu scoring 17 points – shooting a cool 11-for-12 from the charity stripe – and pulled down 12 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season while Louison chipped in 12 points and game-high 13 boards and four blocks for his 14th double-double of the season.
The Bloodhounds (8-14) also placed three in double figures led by Anthony Saldarriaga's 19 points and eight rebounds and Kris Owen's 17 tallies and six caroms.
Neither team led by more than six points in the tight affair that went down to the final buzzer with a Saldarriaga game-tying attempt from over 50 feet was on target, drew rim, but wouldn't fall.
The Bears scored the final four points of a back-and-forth first half, a layup from Louison, who later found Greg Beehler (Breezy Point, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) on the baseline just before the halftime buzzer sent the Bears into the lockers up 38-34 and they would never trail for the remainder of the contest.
The hosts would lead by as many as six on three different occasions in the second stanza, but could never pull away. A Matt O'Neill (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Edmund Prep) trifecta gave the Bears a 66-60 lead with 3:40 to play, but the Bloodhounds countered with an Owens triple to keep a one-possession game until the final buzzer.
In the final minute, Louison helped preserve the Bears one-point lead denying a fast break layup with his game-high fourth rejection. Both squads matched each other sinking a pair of free throws in the bonus after securing offensive rebounds and it remained a 68-67 game with 19.3 seconds left.
After the Bears missed two at the line, the Bloodhounds had possession with 16 seconds and a chance to win, but coughed the ball up. But the Bears left the door open for the Bloodhounds, Megafu going 1-for-2 at the line – after a perfect 10-for-10 up to that point – but Louison secured a key offensive rebound on miss, and Ortiz split attempts in the bonus – also a perfect 5-for-5 up to that point – keeping a three-point game, 70-67, with 2.1 seconds left.
On the final play, with the Bears defending any long pass past mid-court, the Bloodhounds were forced to inbound to their backcourt and Saldarriaga gave the home crowd a scare with his shot past half court hitting backboard and rim and falling to the ground at the buzzer.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Other contributors: Vernon Maddox (9 pts, 3 ast), Matt O'Neill (5 pts, 4 reb), David Lugo (4 pts, 2 reb, 1 blk).
- Ortiz scored 16 of the Bears' 32 second-half points. His previous career high was 16 points in the last meeting at John Jay last January.
- In his first career start, Lugo played solid minutes scoring four of the Bears' first eight points. The senior also recorded a block.
- After shooting 46.7% (14-30) in the first half, the Bears output fell to just 30.8% (8-26) in the second half with 5-of-15 from behind the arc. The Bears still outshot the Bloodhounds for the contest 39.3% to 33.8%.
- John Jay held a slight 47-46 edge on the glass but converted a +6 offensive rebound differential into a 24-15 edge in second chance scoring.
- The game featured eight ties and six lead changes. There were two ties in the second half, but the Bloodhounds never took the lead.
THE BEAR FACTS
- The Bears improve to 2-3 in the all-time series vs. the Bloodhounds taking both meetings at home at Brooklyn Tech.
- St. Joseph's closes out their final season at Brooklyn Tech with an 8-2 mark, their highest home winning percentage since the 2006-07 season where they went 9-0, playing then at Bishop Loughlin High School.
- The 16th win also matches the Bears' win total from a year ago, which was the highest in six seasons.
- The Bears' eight rejections as a team falls one short of the single-game record set earlier this season vs. King's. The Bears also blocked eight shots at Southern Virginia.
- Had Megafu made his final attempt from the line, he would have set a new team record for perfect free throw attempts in a game. Current record is 9-for-9.
NEXT UP FOR THE BEARS – HVIAC TOURNAMENT
St. Joseph's sets their sights on capturing their first conference title since 2010. Entering as the regular season champions and No. 1 seed, the Bears will draw No. 4 seed Albany Pharmacy in a semifinal matchup on Saturday, February 15 at 2 p.m. at The College of New Rochelle.