STANDISH, ME – University of Southern Maine (4-2) defeated Saint Joseph's College (1-4), 64-60, in a non-conference men's basketball contest at the Harold Alfond Center on Sunday night. Senior forward Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) scored a game-high 23 points in the losing effort.
With the triumph, Southern Maine claims possession of the Costello Cup for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. Presented annually to the winner of the contest between the rivals, the Costello Cup honors the late Dr. Richard "Doc" Costello, former USM Athletic Director and long-time basketball coach. The Monks entered tonight's contest having won the rivalry game in five-consecutive meetings and fall to 15-10 in the history of the Costello Cup series.
Trailing 9-4 early in the first half, Saint Joseph's netted a trio of trifectas – two from Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine) and another from Zach Blodgett (Glenburn, Maine) – to claim a 13-11 advantage with 14:54 left in the opening period. The Monks held at least a share of the lead for the following 10 minutes, when USM senior forward Conor Sullivan (Scarborough, Maine) converted a traditional three-point play to lift the Huskies to a 26-23 edge.
As it played out, Saint Joseph's would not taste the lead again, as Southern Maine - which carried a 34-29 cushion into intermission – managed to put the game away by shooting a scorching 71.4% (10-14) from the floor in the second half.
The Huskies' lead ballooned to 18 points on a pair of occasions in the second stanza, the latter occurring when senior center Tyler Penney (Barnstead, N.H.) converted a layup to make it a 58-40 game with 6:47 remaining. Unwilling to go down without a fight, the Monks proceeded to post a 17-4 outburst, a run that was capped by a Krubiel Workie (Denver, Colo.) layup to cut the hosts' deficit down to 62-57 with 41 seconds left.
The offensive surge proved to be too late however, as Southern Maine – which turned the ball over six times while going 0-1 from the field during the SJC scoring effort – sealed the victory by making three of four free throws in the closing 11 seconds.
For Saint Joseph's, Simonds scored nine, Workie and Blodgett both netted seven, and Jerome Diggs (Washington, D.C.) added five points and five assists in the loss.
For Southern Maine, Sullivan scored 19 with four boards and a pair of steals, Penney added 17 points and five caroms, and James Odneal (Pontiac, Mich.) contributed 11 points and three assists.
Saint Joseph's shot 42.9% (24-56) from the floor, 28% (7-25) from three-point range and 62.5% (5-8) from the FT line in the losing bid. Southern Maine shot 53.5% (23-43) overall, 23.5% (4-17) from long distance and 60.9% (14-23) from the line on the evening.
Saint Joseph's opens conference play on Tuesday night when the Monks play host to Johnson & Wales University in a 7:00 PM start. Southern Maine hosts Bowdoin College at 7:30 PM on Tuesday.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 430-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.