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Blue Jays Too Quick, Close Out 11th Straight In Crunch Time

Blue Jays Too Quick, Close Out 11th Straight In Crunch Time

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Make it 11 in a row for the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team, who took down New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) powerhouse Williams College (WC) in a wire-to-wire war, 85-79, inside the O'Connell Center Tuesday in non-conference action.

Blue Jay head coach Jim Calhoun, who picked up his 900th win Friday vs. Pratt, was celebrated before the game with a commemorative basketball for becoming just the fourth men's basketball coach to reach 900 wins (at least 10 years in Div I). He was joined at half court by USJ Athletic Director Amanda Devitt (Left), and President, Dr. Rhona Free (Right). With win 901 tonight, Calhoun is just one win away from tying Bob Knight for the third most NCAA men's basketball wins of all time.

Sophomore guard Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.) was named player of the game, scoring 21 points on 11-of-17 from the foul line. He also had seven assists, four steals, and three rebounds. His roaming defensively paid dividends for USJ, who turned defense into offense at will in several key moments of the ballgame. Sophomore guard Delshawn Jackson Jr. (Hartford, Conn.) scored a game-high 24 (7-15 FG, 7-8 FT), including three clutch three-pointers in the second half. Sophomore forward Kumar Brown (Enfield, Conn.) had a career-high eight points and five rebounds off the bench. He also played critical defense on the Ephs' best player, senior center Matt Karpowicz (Wellesley, Mass), who after dominating the first half (14 PTS, 7-10 FG) was held to just four points on 1-of-3 in the second half. He scored a team-high 18 for Williams, along with 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

The Blue Jays and Ephs went back and forth most of the contest, but Williams, down 10 with a minute left, simply ran out of time, despite cutting it to four with 30 seconds to go.

GAME INFORMATION
Score: Saint Joseph 85, Williams 79
Records: USJ (12-2), Williams (7-7)
Location: O'Connell Center | West Hartford, Conn.

PLAYER QUOTE [Jaecee Martin]
"Coach [Calhoun] told us to just stick together. We have been competing with each other in practice, and I think the more that we compete, the better we will be. When everyone is playing well, it helps me play well."

COACH QUOTE [Glen Miller]
"We wanted to use our speed. We had more speed than them all over the court. They are a very good quarter-court, offensive execution team. If you don't give them any resistance in the backcourt, they execute their stuff, so we wanted to extend our pressure to make them uncomfortable for 40 minutes, and I think it wore them down."

KEY MOMENTS

  • The Ephs raced out to an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes, as Karpowicz opened things up with back-to-back bully moves inside for easy layups.
  • The Blue Jays answered with an 11-0 run, backed by the quickness of Jaecee Martin on both ends. 11-8 USJ with 13:52 left in the first half.
  • USJ led by as many as seven in the first half, but each time the lead stretched slightly, the Ephs reeled the Blue Jays back in. A desperation jumper from freshman guard Cole Prowitt-Smith (Fairfield, Conn.) beat the buzzer to tie it at the half, 35-35.
  • The lead continued to see-saw, as another desperation shot from Prowitt-Smith, this time a three from the left wing, went down to tie the game at 40 with 16:55 left. The Blue Jays turned it on though with a 9-0 run, capped by a tomahawk slam from freshman forward Taelon Martin (Springfield, Mass.).
  • Saint Joseph held an 11-point lead three different times in the second half, including with 1:13 to play, up 79-68. The second half adjustments to Karpowicz were successful. Despite that, the Ephs once again refused to quit. They trimmed an 11-point gap down to four, 80-76, with 32 seconds left. DJ and Jaecee Martin calmly sank just enough free throws late to wrap it up.

NUMBER TO KNOW

38 – USJ showed its aggression all game long, shooting 38 free throws. That ties a season-high and is the second most attempted free throws in program history (40- January 2019).

NOTES

  • This is the 10th time the Blue Jays have scored 80 points this season. They are 10-0 in those games.
  • Williams had 22 assists on its 29 field goals.
  • USJ shot 55% from the floor (28-51), the fourth-highest total this season.
  • Saint Joseph is now 1-0 all-time against Williams.

UP NEXT
The USJ men's basketball team is headed on the road to open up Great Northeast Athletic Conference play. The Blue Jays take on Norwich on the road Saturday, January 18 at 1:00 p.m.

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