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O'Neill, Men's Basketball Rally In Second Half, Win 73-67

Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - March 1, 2021
Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - March 1, 2021

BABSON PARK, Mass.  It was gut check time for the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team, which despite trailing by 14 at the half answered the call, knocking off the undefeated Babson College (BC) Beavers, 73-67, inside Staake Gymnasium Saturday to get its first win of the season.

Trailing 44-30 at the break, the Blue Jays (1-2) opened the second half on a 7-0 run to keep it close, and took the lead with a late push behind clutch free throw shooting and timely baskets. Junior guard Ryan O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.) set the tone with his first career double-double (17 PTS, 10 REB). Junior point guard Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.) added 16 points (10-13 FT) and five assists. Sophomore forward Jalen Samuels (Franklin, Mass.) chipped in with a dozen off the bench for USJ. Senior Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) and junior Colin Bradanese (Billerica, Mass.) both finished with 14 points and three rebounds to lead the Beavers (5-1), but were held to a combined 10-for-26 from the field.

USJ pulled within five, 47-42, on a three-point play by Samuels with 15:12 to go in the game. The Beavers were still up nine after a Bradanese layup with under nine minutes left, but the Blue Jays scored the next nine points to pull even at 56-56 with 6:00 to go. The teams traded hoops over the next four-plus minutes, before O'Neill drilled a three-ball from the right wing to put the visitors in front with little time remaining. O'Neill and 'JC' Martin followed with two free throws each to give USJ its largest lead of the game with seconds to play and to secure the victory.

GAME INFORMATION
Score: Saint Joseph 73, Babson 67
Records: USJ (1-2), BC (5-1)
Location: Staake Gymnasium | Babson Park, Mass.

COACH QUOTE [Glen Miller]
"Today was a good team win over an excellent Babson team. After a poor defensive first half in which we gave up nine three-pointers and 53% overall shooting, we showed some grit and held Babson to only two threes and 27% shooting in the second half. Defensive stops and dominant rebounding allowed us to transition into our offense and have a high-scoring second half. Ryan had a terrific game and hit some really big shots for us down the stretch."

NUMBER TO KNOW

43 – The Blue Jays scored a season-high 43 points in the second half, enough to propel them past the 2017 National Champions.

NOTES

  • The Blue Jays shot 16-for-18 from the FT Line in the second half, and 18-of-21 for the game.
  • USJ scored at least 18 points off the bench for the second time in three games.
  • First-ever meeting between the Beavers and Blue Jays.

UP NEXT
The score will be settled among the 'Battle of the B's', as the Blue Jays will host the Beavers to conclude the season series on Sunday, March 7 at 1:00 p.m. inside the O'Connell Center. You can catch all the action live on www.usjbluejays.com.

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