WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – It was one for the record books, as the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team found a way to grind out its second straight win in as many days over the former National Champion Babson College (BC) Beavers, 92-82, in triple overtime, a first in program history, inside the O'Connell Center Sunday afternoon.
It was a game not meant to be decided in 40 minutes (16 ties, nine lead changes), as both teams showed their best hands at different stretches of the ballgame. Senior forward Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.), who had just two points against Babson on Saturday, logged his first career 30-point double-double (30 PTS, 11-16 FG, 12 REB) in the win. Junior point guard Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.) went the distance and had a well-rounded performance, scoring 21 points, tying a career-high with eight boards, and got his teammates involved with seven assists, all in a program record 55 minutes played. Sophomore forward Jalen Samuels (Franklin, Mass.) made key contributions once again off the bench, scoring 11 points, and changing the complexion of the game with his defense, especially down the stretch.
The Beavers were again led by sensational play from senior guard Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.), who scored a team-high 22 points, but it did not come easy for the second day in a row (9-21 FG, 1-9 3FG). A collective defensive effort on Jaworksi was one of the Blue Jays' keys to victory, according to Associate Head Coach Glen Miller. It showed, as the senior was held to a combined two points in the three overtime periods. Junior Colin Bradanese (Billerica, Mass.) added 15 on an impressive 7-for-11 from the field. He also had six rebounds.
The Blue Jays trailed by five at the break, 29-24, but a 21-8 run to open the second half propelled USJ to an eight-point advantage nearing the midway point of the half. Powell scored 12 of his game-high 30 points in the run.
The Beavers lived and died by the three-pointer, connecting on some big ones to come back from 12 down late in the game and eventually tie it up. Jaworski made a pill-up, game-tying bucket with 35 seconds left, but missed the game-winner at the buzzer, sending the contest into overtime.
After an uneventful first overtime (combined eight points), both teams came out with a purpose in the second OT. Teams took turns trading baskets pretty much until the end. The Blue Jays were the last team with the ball, but 'JC' Martin missed the game-winner on a contested mid-range pullup. A series of tips ensued before the buzzer sounded once again and forced a third overtime.
The Blue Jays were finally able to distance themselves in the third extra period. Samuels hit two layups and a free throw, while Powell and Martin chipped in late in the shot clock. The Beavers had some good looks from deep in all three OT periods, but were unable to cash in at the right time, shooting 0-for-11 from downtown across the three overtimes. Samuels put the exclamation point on a statement victory by drawing a big charge with less than a minute left to seal it. It marked the Blue Jays' first overtime win in program history (1-2).
Score: Babson 82, Saint Joseph 92 (3OT)
Records: BC (5-2), USJ (2-2)
Location: O'Connell Center | West Hartford, Conn.
COACH QUOTE [Glen Miller on scheduling and the 2020-21 season so far]
"I think our schedule so far has been very difficult and a good test for us this season, in a year with so much uncertainty. Playing the No. 4 team in the country (Yeshiva) to start and then two games against a quality program like Babson has been challenging. But we have high expectations for ourselves, and to go out there and play against the best, it gives us some good feedback. We understand now where we are, what we need to do to improve, and give ourselves a chance to compete next year in the NCAA Tournament and beyond."
PLAYER QUOTE [Jordan Powell on the keys to today's win]
"It was just ball movement, staying on top of each other and keeping each other motivated, making sure that we played hard defense because [Babson] moves the ball really well. We didn't quit. We take every game seriously, we want to win, and we've got two more to go."
NUMBER TO KNOW
61 – The Blue Jays grabbed a season-high 61 rebounds Sunday, and were plus-17 on the glass overall. USJ outrebounded Babson 107-70 in the two-game series this weekend.
- Powell and JC Martin combined to shoot 19-of-36 (53%). The rest of the team shot just 14-for-45 (31%).
- The 61 rebounds for USJ are the fourth most in a game in program history.
- The Beavers defeated Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opponents by an average of 29 points per game last season. They lost by an average of eight points per game in two meetings with USJ this season.
The Blue Jays will host the Mariners of Mitchell College on Friday, March 12 inside the O'Connell Center at 7:00 p.m. You can catch all the action live on www.usjbluejays.com.
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