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Blue Jays Top Norwich In GNAC Opener, Calhoun Ties Bob Knight

Blue Jays Top Norwich In GNAC Opener, Calhoun Ties Bob Knight

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Riding an 11-game win streak into its Great Northeast Athletic Conference opener, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team nearly faltered, but the Blue Jays finished strong down the stretch, outlasting the Norwich University Cadets, 89-81, on the road inside Andrews Gym Saturday afternoon.

The victory pushes the Blue Jays' win streak to 12-straight games and also marks career victory 902 for USJ and Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun. Triumph No. 902 ties Calhoun for third all-time with Bob Knight amongst head coaches with 10-plus years of service at the NCAA Division I level. Calhoun will look to pass Knight for sole possession of third place when the Blue Jays host Suffolk University inside the O'Connell Center on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the game can be purchashed here.

1. *Mike Krzyzewski (Army/Duke)---1,147 wins - 45th Season
2. *Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)---957 wins - 44th Season
3. Bob Knight (Army/Indiana/Texas Tech)---902 wins - 42 Seasons
3. *Jim Calhoun (Northeastern/UConn/St. Joseph)---902 wins - 42nd Season
5. Dean Smith (North Carolina)---879 wins - 36 Seasons
5. *Roy Williams (Kansas/North Carolina)---879 wins - 32nd Season
7. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky)---876 wins - 41 Seasons
8. *Bob Huggins (Walsh/Akron/Cincinnati/Kansas St./West Virginia)---874 wins - 38th Season
9. Jim Phelan (Mt. St. Mary's)---830 wins - 49 Seasons
10. Rollie Massimino (Stony Brook/Villanova/UNLV/Cleveland St./Keiser)---816 wins – 41 Seasons

*-Still Active Coaching   **-As of 1/18/20

Sophomore point guard Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.) posted his second consecutive 20-point game, finishing with 22 points (9-13 FG), including 15 in the second half, to power the Blue Jays past the Cadets. He was joined by three other Blue Jays in double figures, including junior forward Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.), who logged his third double-double of the season with 15 points and a single-game program-record 16 rebounds. Also in double figures were sophomore Ryan O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.) and freshman Taelon Martin (Springfield, Mass.) who finished with 17 and 14, respectively.

Junior forward Kyle Booth (Northfield, Vt.) led a trio of scorers in double-digits with a career-high and game-high 26 points for the Cadets. Sophomore forward Donovan Lewis Jr. (Savannah, Ga.) posted career highs in both points (19) and rebounds (13) to register his second double-double of the season, while sophomore guard Caleb Casinas (Aiea, Hawaii) added 14 points for the hosts.

The Blue Jays held a slight lead for the majority of the contest, but could never put together that one big run to pull away from the Cadets. Norwich hung around and got within one, 74-73, with five minutes left in regulation, but USJ was too much down the stretch and escaped Vermont with the 89-81 victory in its GNAC opener.

GAME INFORMATION
Score: Saint Joseph 89, Norwich 81
Records: USJ (13-2, 1-0 GNAC), Norwich (3-12, 0-2 GNAC)
Location: Andrews Gym | Northfield, Vt.

COACH QUOTE [Jim Calhoun]
"On the road and in an early game, we looked like we didn't wake up until there was about five minutes left to go in the game. Give Norwich credit, they battled the whole game and showed all kinds of spirit, and gave us a tough go. It ends up being a good win for us because of the way we played. We are going to have to get better, but a win is a win, and now we will get ready for Suffolk on Tuesday."

KEY MOMENTS

  • USJ and Norwich battled back and forth throughout the first 15 minutes of the game. There were four ties and seven lead changes in the early moments of the first half.
  • An 11-5 run by the Blue Jays, capped by an and-one from O'Neill, gave USJ its largest lead of the game, 38-30, with 4:24 to go in the first half. O'Neill had seven points during the spurt.
  • Norwich's senior forward Dan Bertrand (Saugus, Mass.) canned back-to-back triples late in the period, and then a fast-break floater in the paint by Bertrand as the horn sounded kept the Cadets within striking distance at the break, 47-40.
  • USJ built its lead to double digits, 59-49, following T. Martin's three-point play after being fouled in the paint at the 13:31 mark of the second stanza.
  • Saint Joseph was able to maintain that 10-point cushion for the next five minutes until the Cadets used a 7-0 run, punctuated by a deep three-pointer from Booth, to close the gap to three, 70-67.
  • After trading several baskets, the hosts clawed back to within one point, 74-73, after Lewis Jr. nailed a pair of free throws with 5:10 to play.
  • USJ cemented the win with a clutch 10-2 run over the next several minutes to take an 84-75 lead and then made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the 89-81 victory.

NUMBER TO KNOW

16 – Junior forward Jordan Powell pulled down a single-game program-record 16 rebounds in the win over the Cadets on Saturday.

NOTES

  • This is the 11th time the Blue Jays have scored 80 points this season. They are 11-0 in those games.
  • USJ matched its season-low committing just nine turnovers, while Norwich set its season-low with 11 turnovers.
  • The Blue Jays controlled the boards outrebounding the Cadets 50-39, including 17-7 on the offensive glass.
  • USJ outscored Norwich in the paint 48-36. The Blue Jays have now outscored their opponents 724-390 in the paint this season.
  • Saint Joseph is now 2-0 all-time against Norwich.

UP NEXT
The USJ men's basketball team will host Suffolk University for its GNAC home opener on Tuesday evening as Calhoun looks to pass Bob Knight for third on the all-time wins list. Tip-off between the Blue Jays and Rams is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the game can be purchased here.

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