|Albertus Magnus College||Saint Joseph's College|
STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph’s College (11-8, 8-4 GNAC) tipped Albertus Magnus College (14-4, 10-2 GNAC), 95-90, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men’s basketball contest at the Harold Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon.
The conference rivals swapped the lead 12 times in the first 14 minutes of play with the last trade-off, an Andrew Ruffen (Salem, N.H.) three-pointer at the 5:30 mark, providing the Monks with the lead for the remainder of the contest, but finishing off the Falcons proved to be an arduous task.
Saint Joseph’s led by as many as eight points late in the first half, but Albertus cut the hosts’ cushion down to four (43-39) at the break with the help of 25 points from senior guard Grant Ellis (Newark, N.J.), who was 9-13 from the floor and 5-8 from downtown in the opening 20 minutes.
Midway through the second stanza, the Monks looked to put the Falcons away with an 18-7 offensive surge, a run that spanned just over three minutes and featured 16 points from sophomore forward Marc Corey (Londonderry, N.H.), who drilled four three-pointers in a matter of 122 seconds to make it a 71-59 game with 9:01 remaining.
St. Joe’s held an 84-72 advantage after junior forward Quinn Richardson-Newton (Saco, Maine) converted a three-point play at the 2:56 mark, but Albertus Magnus cut the lead to single digits 45 seconds later when sophomore guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) converted a layup.
The closing 30 seconds proved to be the most nerve-wracking of the afternoon. Ahead by seven (91-84) after senior guard John Crawley (Fitchburg, Mass.) hit a pair of freebies with 22 seconds left, the Monks saw their lead dwindle down to three points after Pedro Marquez (Harlem, N.Y.) and Ellis negated a pair of Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) free throws with five seconds left.
Fortunately for the Monks, the Falcons fouled Mileikis and the sophomore captain nailed both freebies to put the game away with two seconds on the clock.
Corey – who did not suit up in the Monks’ 99-90 loss at Albertus Magnus earlier this season – netted a career-high 25 points with 10 rebounds and five assists while going 7-12 from the field, 6-9 from three-point range, and 5-6 from the FT line.
Richardson-Newton added 15 points.
Crawley came off the bench to score 14 points with seven boards and three assists.
Mileikis added 13 points off an 8-10 free-throw shooting effort with three caroms and a pair of steals.
Freshman guard Mario Nery (Bronx, N.Y.) provided a spark off the bench with 10 points, four assists, and two rebounds.
Junior forward Aaron Hall (Haverhill, Mass.) pulled down 12 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Ben Malloy (Standish, Maine) tallied seven points, seven caroms, and four assists.
Ellis cooled down a bit in the second half but wound up scoring 39 points off a 14-31 shooting effort.
Junior forward Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) narrowly missed a triple-double with 16 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists.
Pittman contributed 14 points, 10 assists, five boards, and five steals.