Freshman guard Jack Casale (Portland, Maine/Cheverus) netted 15 points to lead six SJC players in double digits as the Monks fell on the wrong side of a rally for the second time in as many days in the Sunshine State.
THE REST OF THE STORY:
Saint Joseph’s held a 37-33 advantage at halftime and a nine-point (45-36) cushion two minutes into the second stanza after junior guard Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) drained three-pointers on consecutive trips down the court.
The Monks broke free from a 53-53-stalemate midway through the second period as a traditional three-point player by junior forward Jae Johns (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) capped a 6-0 run with the Royal Blue on top, 59-53 with 9:47 remaining.
The teams proceeded to swap the lead seven times over the next eight minutes, but a jumper from senior guard Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) at the 1:43 mark lifted the Poets to a 76-75 edge and proved to be the final swing, as Whittier senior guard Eric Davis (Ventura, Calif.) went 6-6 from the free throw line over the closing 25 seconds to seal the victory.
The Poets scored 25 points off 15 SJC turnovers while the Monks netted just seven points off nine Whittier miscues.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH’S:
· Junior guard Darian Berry (Rochester, N.H.) tallied 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists
· Junior guard Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) added 14 points and five boards
· Senior forward Aaron Hall (Haverhill, Mass.) scored 14 points with seven caroms
· Sophomore guard Mario Nery (Bronx, N.Y.) chipped in with 14 points – off a 7-9 free-throw shooting performance – with three boards, three assists, and a pair of steals
LEADERS – WHITTIER:
· Senior forward Victor Nwaba (Los Angeles, Calif.) led all players with 23 points and nine rebounds
· Junior forward Reggie Dixon (Oxnard, Calif.) came off the bench to score 12 points with five boards
· Davis was 8-8 from the charity stripe with seven rebounds and six assists