WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph basketball team fell to the Albertus Magnus College Falcons, 72-55, on Senior Night inside the O'Connell Center in the Blue Jays final home game of the 2016-17 season on Tuesday. The loss drops the Blue Jays overall record to 9-14 on the season and 3-11 in the GNAC, while the Falcons improve to 13-11 and 8-7 in the league.
Senior Carlee Putnam (Niantic, Conn.) led all scorers in her final home game of her career netting a game-high 23 points. It marks the second consecutive game Putnam has poured in 23 points, this time she did it on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Fellow senior Elisha Pertillar (Windsor, Conn.) matched her season-high with 10 rebounds in the setback to lead the way on the glass for the Blue Jays.
The Falcons got off to a hot start in the first quarter and raced out to an early 9-2 lead four minutes into the game. Five points from junior Angelina Piccirillo (Naugatuck, Conn.) fueled the fast start for the visitors. The Blue Jays would come storming back though powered by Putnam who netted the next 11 points for USJ, including three triples, to tie the game, 13-13, with 1:28 left in the opening period of play. Junior Rajeen Mayo (Middletown, Conn.) would then beat the buzzer with a lay-in in the final seconds to give the hosts a 16-15 edge at the first intermission.
Albertus Magnus would regain the lead after a Piccirillo three ball to open the second quarter and they would never trail again for the remainder of the contest. The Blue Jays kept it very tight in the second period though answering each trip down the floor with the Falcons before eventually heading into the half trailing by just three, 31-28.
A 21-8 third quarter from the Falcons would prove to be the difference led by eight points from junior Olivia Bolden (South Windsor, Conn.) and six from classmate Kiki Epps (Norwalk, Conn.). AMC used a 15-2 run over the final 5:36 of the third period to create the separation and lead 52-36 heading into the final quarter.
USJ was unable to create a spark and ignite a big run of its own to try and climb back into the game in the final stanza. They would trim the deficit to 55-40 early in the fourth after a made jumper by Mayo, but the Falcons would respond and extend their lead to as big as 23 (72-49) over the remainder of regulation and ultimately walked away with the 72-55 victory.
Putnam led all scorers with a game-high 23 points and was joined in double-figures by junior forward Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn.) who finished with 17. Mayo added six points and five assists, while playing all 40 minutes. On the glass, Pertillar paced the Blue Jays with a team-high 10 boards followed by freshman Charlotte Eberhardt (Thomaston, Conn.) who grabbed nine and Guest who added eight caroms.
All five starters finished in double-figures for the Falcons who used a very balanced scoring approach. Bolden led the way with 16, sophomore Jill Johnson (North Haven, Conn.) dropped 14 and senior Liz Falcigno added 13. Falcigno and Bolden both each recorded double-doubles in the victory pulling down 15 and 12 rebounds, respectively.
AMC won the battle on the glass out-rebounding the Blue Jays as a team 50-46 and held a significant advantage in points in the paint, 42-22. USJ shot 33.9 percent (19-of-56) from the floor, while Albertus hit for 41.1 percent (30-of-73).
The USJ basketball team will return to action next on Friday when they head to Simmons College for a 7 p.m. GNAC showdown with the Sharks before wrapping up their season with their final game on Saturday at Johnson & Wales at 1 p.m.