NEWTON, Mass. – With a 69-66 over visiting Saint Joseph College (ME) on Tuesday evening at Mount Ida Athletic Center, the Mount Ida College men's basketball team has clinched at least a top four seed in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) postseason, and will host a first round tournament game for the first time since 2010.
The Mustangs (16-8, 12-5 GNAC) will be home next Tuesday evening for their quarterfinals matchup, with exact time and opponent to be determined, though it seems likely that they are headed for a rematch with the Monks, who they beat for the second time this season, dropping them to 12-12 (9-8 GNAC).
Errald Jordine (Stamford, Conn.) led the Mustangs with 18 points and was the key player down the stretch as Mount Ida grabbed a late lead.
With the Mustangs trailing 64-62, Jordine converted a three-point play and then scored another layup after a Monks turnover to put the hosts up 67-64. On the other end of the floor, Jordine had a thunderous block in the final minutes as the Monks looked to answer.
Aaron Hall (Haverhill, Mass.), who led Saint Joseph's with 16 points, tipped in an offensive rebound with thirty-two seconds left to cut the lead to a point, but Jayson Clark (Austin, Texas) knocked down both of his free-throws and Mount Ida came away with the victory.
It was back to back three-pointers by Clark that capped a 14-2 run midway through the second half, turning a 42-42 game into a twelve point Mustang advantage.
Mount Ida would not trail again until Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) hit a pair of free throws just under two minutes to give the visitors a 64-62 edge.
The Monks had the upper hand early on in this game, starting on an 11-2 run and holding a 31-26 lead at the half. Mount Ida was just 1-12 from behind the three-point line in the first half, but went 7-12 (58.3%) from long range after the break, while the Monks managed just 2-13 from distance all night.
Each team led by double digits at one point in the game, with Saint Joseph's largest advantage coming at 12:40 in the first half when they led by ten.
Clark scored 12 points and dished out a game-high six assists to go with four steals, while Brendan Cunningham (Quincy, Mass.) was 3-4 from long range to contribute nine points in the win. Cunningham helped the Mustangs bench outscore that of the Monk's 22-16.
Marc Corey (Londonderry, N.H.) had a nice night for Saint Joseph's, scoring 15 points, grabbing five rebounds and picking up four steals.
Hall's dominant presence inside was punctuated by three blocks and Quinn Richardson-Newton (Saco, Maine) poured in eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Mount Ida has one more regular season game remaining, a Saturday afternoon affair at Albertus Magnus, with tip-off set for 3:00 pm in New Haven.
The Monks' final tune-up before the postseason is this Saturday at 3:00 pm, when they host Suffolk and celebrate Senior Day.
COURTESY OF MOUNT IDA COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION
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 474-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.