BABSON PARK, Mass. — The No. 9 University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team relied on damaging defense and a heavy dose of paint points to thrust their way through the Beavers of Babson College (BC), 76-59, inside Staake Gymnasium in non-conference action Wednesday night. With the win, USJ improves to 3-0 to start the 2021-22 season, holding opponents under 60 points in three straight games for the second time in program history (Nov. 30 to Dec. 7, 2019). It also marked the third straight win in as many tries over the 2017 National Champions, after defeating the Beavers twice last year in the abbreviated 2020-21 campaign.
The Blue Jays were led by senior guard Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.), who scored a game-high 20 points (8-14 FG), grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. Junior forward Jalen Samuels (Franklin, Mass.) shook Staake Gym with a pair of emphatic dunks, to go along with a momentum-building 10-point first half on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field. He finished with 12 points on the night. Senior guard Tyree Mitchell (East Hartford, Conn.), fresh off his MVP performance in the USJ Tip-Off Tournament, added 14 for the visitors on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor. Senior forward Colin Bradanese (Billerica, Mass.) led the way for the Beavers with 19 points (9-14 FG) and seven boards. Freshman guard Nate Amado (Hanson, Mass.) had a double-double (10 Pts, 10 Reb), but was held to just 1-of-13 shooting.
The Blue Jays' defense was stout all night as BC was held to a season-low 59 points, 34% field goal shooting, and just 16% from the three-point line (3-19). Babson averaged 74.5 points per game in the two meetings against USJ last season. USJ also doubled up the Beavers inside with a 40-22 points in the paint advantage. A lot of that came from Samuels, who is averaging 11.7 points per game in three career games against Babson (averages 4.3 points per game for his career).
Score: Saint Joseph 76, Babson 59
Records: USJ (3-0), BC (3-2)
Location: Staake Gymnasium | Babson Park, Mass.
PLAYER QUOTE [Jaecee Martin] "Babson is a really good team. Coming into this game, we knew that we had to defend for 40 minutes, and run our offense as well, and that is exactly what we did tonight. There have been a lot of defensive drills in practice. The coaches have really been on us about that. You know that defense is going to be the key for us to win down the road. It definitely showed today."
COACH QUOTE [Glen Miller] "That was a good road win over a team that hasn't lost at home many times over the past few years. Jaecee Martin and Jalen Samuels, in particular, really stepped up and had terrific performances. It's nice to win and at the same time know we can play much better than we did."
The Blue Jays continue to take form as they get set to host a jumbo of a matchup in West Hartford Saturday afternoon…No. 11 Tufts, as two of the top-12 teams in the country go to battle in the newly completed O'Connell Center. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m. and tickets can be purchased by visiting www.usjbluejays.com/tickets. The Jumbos got the better of the Blue Jays in their only meeting; an 89-71 victory at Tufts on November 23, 2019. The Blue Jays went on to win 25 straight games following that setback.
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