WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The No. 6 nationally-ranked University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team rolled to its ninth straight victory to start the 2021-22 season, defeating the Regis College (REG) Pride, 95-54, Saturday afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) contest inside the O'Connell Center. With the victory, the Blue Jays have now won 11 consecutive games dating back to the abbreviated 2020-21 season and 18 consecutive conference games, with their last GNAC loss coming in the 2019 GNAC Championship in USJ's first-ever season as a program. The 11-game streak is the third-longest active winning streak in Division III, while the 18-game conference streak is the second-longest active streak.
Score: Regis 54, Saint Joseph 95
Records: REG 4-6 (1-3 GNAC), USJ 9-0 (4-0 GNAC)
Location: O'Connell Center | West Hartford, Conn.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Saint Joseph led wire-to-wire in the triumph, marking the second time the Blue Jays have achieved that feat this season. USJ jumped out to a quick 6-0 advantage less than two minutes into the contest behind a pair of buckets from senior forward Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.) sandwiched around an uncontested layup by senior guard Tyree Mitchell (East Hartford, Conn.). Regis responded with a 5-0 spurt to pull within a point, 6-5, fueled by three points from senior forward Marc Trinidad (Bronx, N.Y.), but that would be as close as the visitors would get for the remainder of the contest.
Following the five-point burst by the visitors, the Blue Jays held the Pride scoreless for nearly the ensuing three minutes and used another 6-0 run to build a 12-5 advantage. Regis kept the score within striking distance and trailed by just three, 21-18, following a made three-pointer from Joshua Perez (Lynn, Mass.) with 7:39 left to play in the opening stanza. However, the Blue Jays dug in defensively and exploded offensively, dominating in transition behind the play of senior guard Chaylyn Martin (Hartford, Conn.), and outscored the Pride 20-2 over the remainder of the period to take a commanding, 41-20, lead into the haltime intermission.
The massive run carried over into the second half as USJ scored the first five points of the final period to extend its lead to 46-20. Both teams traded points and the Blue Jays maintained its 20-plus-point lead for the entire second stanza. A Trinidad old-fashioned three-point play made it a 24-point game (62-38) with 8:41 left to play, before the Blue Jays rattled off another big 24-9 surge over the ensuing four-plus minutes to go up 86-47 with 4:03 left on the clock. Both teams traded hoops for the remainder of play and the game was capped with a 7-2 USJ spurt fueled by four points from senior center Nadir Dixon-Thompson (Dorchester, Mass.) and three points from senior forward Sam Majek (Brooklyn, Conn.).
COACH QUOTE [Glen Miller]
"It's been 28 days since we last played so our guys were anxious and excited to finally get back out on the court and play again. It's always a good day when you get the win and everyone on the roster gets playing time. Chaylyn Martin had a strong game at both ends of the floor for us today and I was very happy with his offensive aggressiveness."
Chaylyn Martin finished with a career-high 16 points (5-6 FG, 6-7 FT) to go along with six rebounds and six steals in 19 minutes of floor time off the bench to pace the Blue Jays in the triumph. Powell and Dixon-Thompson also finished in double figures with 10 points apiece for the hosts. 14 Blue Jays scored in total on the afternoon in a well-balanced offensive attack which saw USJ eclipse the 90-point threshold for the fourth time through nine games this season.
Trinidad was the lone Regis scorer in double figures, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Freshman guard Tate Pike (Bellingham, Mass.) added nine points off the bench for the Pride, while junior guard Cameron Wilkins (Taunton, Mass.) chipped in with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Saint Joseph made more than half of its shots from the field for the fifth time this season, shooting 54.3% (38-70) on the day. The Blue Jays also shot 50.0% (6-12) from beyond the arc and 68.4% (13-19) from the free-throw line in the win. USJ, one of the best defensive teams statistically in the nation, held Regis to 31.0% (18-58) shooting overall and 20.0% (4-20) from three. Regis made 70.0% (14-20) of its attempts from the charity stripe.
The Blue Jays held a slight edge in the battle inside, outrebounding the Pride (40-35) and outscoring the visitors in second-chance points (11-6), with a sizeable advantage in points in the paint (62-24). USJ used its speed and athleticism to give Regis fits in transition all game and finished with a significant 25-6 difference in fastbreak points.
The Blue Jays return to the hardwood Wednesday, January 12 for a Great Northeast Athletic Conference matchup on the road against Elms College. Tipoff between the Blue Jays and Blazers is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. inside the Maguire Center in Chicopee, Mass. Spectators are currently not allowed at indoor athletic events inside the Maguire Center, but fans can follow all of the action live via the links to Elms' livestream which can be found on www.usjbluejays.com.
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