WEST HARTFORD, Conn.— Double-doubles from sophomore point guard Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.), and junior forward Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.) led the 19th-ranked University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team to victory for the 21st straight time, this one over Anna Maria College (AMC), 96-81, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) matchup in the O'Connell Athletic Center Tuesday.
Martin was sensational from the opening tip, finishing two rebounds shy of a triple-double, scoring a team-high 19 points (8-13 FG), dishing out 12 assists, and grabbing eight big-time boards. It was his second career double-double. Powell added 15 points on 7-for-9 from the floor and 10 rebounds. A flock of five Blue Jays scored in double figures. The AMCATS were led by none other than senior forward Mike Rapoza (Charlton, Mass.), who leads the GNAC in rebounds per game, and is top-five in scoring and field-goal percentage. Rapoza did his damage in the paint, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing a game-high 17 rebounds. AMC matched USJ with five double-figure scorers, but got pounded on the boards, 47-28, eventually getting worn down midway through the second half.
Score: Saint Joseph 96, Anna Maria 81
Records: USJ (22-2, 10-0 GNAC), AMC (10-14, 6-4 GNAC)
Location: O'Connell Athletic Center | West Hartford, Conn.
COACH QUOTE [Jim Calhoun]
"We played in spurts, and we cannot afford to do that at this stage of the season, but we did pick the defense up in the second half, and eventually pulled away. The season can take its toll in a good and bad way, it has mostly been good for us, but most importantly, we can hopefully regroup ourselves for one more regular-season game and the upcoming playoffs."
- The AMCATS looked to be the sharper team early, taking a 13-8 lead with 14:10 to go in the first. A block by Rapoza led to a three-point hoop for senior guard Bobby Perette (Marshfield, Mass.). USJ called for time.
- USJ s turned a five-point deficit into a five-point lead with a 12-2 run. An and-one from 'JC' started the run. Saint Joseph went up 22-17 halfway through the first.
- The Blue Jays opened it up to eight or nine on four different occasions, but the AMCATS crawled their way back into it as the half came to a close. A 9-2 run cut the gap to three, including an and-one with one second left from freshman guard Jakai Alexandre (Fitchburg, Mass.). 42-39 USJ at the break.
- Anna Maria cut the lead to one with the first hoop of the second half, but a 15-4 run by Saint Joseph turned the tides in the home team's favor once again. Five different Blue Jays scored during the run, putting them up by double digits for good.
NUMBER TO KNOW
19 - The Blue Jays had 19 offensive rebounds, the most since Pratt in January (22), and the second-most this season.
- USJ had just 11 turnovers. It marks the fourth straight game the team has had 12 or less (longest streak in program history).
- JC is the only player in the GNAC with more than 100 assists this season. He has 127.
- The AMCATS had 28 rebounds on the night, their second-fewest in a game in 2019-2020.
- Saint Joseph is now 2-0 all-time versus Anna Maria.
The USJ men's basketball team closes the regular season at home with a GNAC matchup against Colby-Sawyer on Saturday, February 22. Tip-off between the Blue Jays and the Chargers is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. inside the O'Connell Center, following the conclusion of the USJ women's game versus the Chargers, which will tip-off at 1:00 p.m., as part of the 'Hoops for Hounds' initiative. Tickets for both games can be purchased here.
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