PROVIDENCE, R.I.— Behind a busy second half across the board, including a career-high 29 points from sophomore guard Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.), the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team made it 16 straight with a blowout victory, 81-65, over Johnson & Wales University (JWU) Saturday afternoon in the Wildcat Center, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) road contest.
The Blue Jays move to 17-2 overall and 5-0 in the GNAC, while the Wildcats dip to 10-10 and 2-4. JWU actually led by 14 midway through the first half, but the shooting stroke went south, and Saint Joseph made them pay, turning a one-point halftime deficit into a double-digit dub. 'JC' had a career-high 29 points (10-20 FG) to go along with a game-high nine assists. It marks the fourth time Martin has eclipsed the 20-point mark in just 12 career games.
Junior forward Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.) went for back-to-back double-doubles (22 PTS, 10 REB in both) and continues to shoot at a blistering rate (10-13 FG). Powell has made 39 of his last 44 shots, and is in a dead heat to be the top field goal percentage shooter in the country.
Junior guard Nate Patenaude (Smithfield, R.I.) led the way for Johnson & Wales with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals. JWU shot just 27% from the floor in the second half (7-26 FG), after hitting six threes alone in the first half.
Score: Saint Joseph 81, Johnson & Wales 65
Records: USJ (17-2, 5-0 GNAC), JWU (10-10, 2-4 GNAC)
Location: Wildcat Center | Providence, R.I.
COACH QUOTE [Jim Calhoun]
"We stayed calm in the first four or five minutes, we understood it was about us, all of us. Jaecee [Martin] had his best game in a Saint Joseph uniform. Jordan Powell continues to give us consistent minutes that no other big guy in the league has. He played a special game for us, this was a big one, and with more road games ahead of us, I think we will be just fine."
- The Wildcats were knocking down the three-ball early and it showed, taking a commanding 31-17 lead halfway through the first half. The 21-7 run included three three-pointers from three different Wildcats (Patenaude had one). Second year head coach Jim Calhoun had no choice but to call for an early timeout as the crowd cheered on.
- The play of the half was undoubtedly the tomahawk jam from freshman guard Taelon Martin (Springfield, Mass.), who took it all the way off a steal on the perimeter. It seemed to bring JWU's momentum to a screeching halt, missing its final three three-pointers (and still shot 6-of-13 overall, 46%) of the half. USJ ended the half on a 19-6 run, aided by the Martin's, Jaecee and Taelon.
- For the second straight game, the Blue Jays opened up the second half with three layups, including an and-one. In fact, that was all part of a 12-0 run in the first three plus minutes. JC completed the old fashioned three-point play, hit a jumper, a three, and a few rebounds, and all of a sudden, USJ was out in front, 48-37.
- Saint Joseph slowly but surely wore down the Wildcats, extending the lead two points at a time. Before you knew it, the lead had ballooned to 17, and JWU could not buy a bucket. JC electrified his own play and his teammates, as the Blue Jays walked out of Providence with another win.
NUMBER TO KNOW
48 – The Blue Jays owned the paint, outscoring the Wildcats 48-16.
- The size of the Blue Jays once again paid off in the paint, outrebounding JWU, 52-30.
- Jaecee Martin had nine of Saint Joseph's 10 assists. He also added six rebounds.
- Senior guard Brian Hogan-Gary (Staten Island, N.Y.), the reigning GNAC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and second leading scorer in the conference (22 PPG), was held to 11 points (4-16 FG) and a game-high seven turnovers in 38 minutes.
- Saint Joseph is now 1-1 all-time against JWU.
The USJ men's basketball team returns to the floor on Tuesday, February 4, in its third of three straight road games, taking on GNAC foe Lasell. Tip-off between the Blue Jays and Lasers is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
Follow USJ Athletics
For the latest on University of Saint Joseph athletics, follow the Blue Jays on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.