PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Sixth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (19-7) upset #3 Johnson & Wales University (13-13), 83-80, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal on Tuesday night.
With the victory Saint Joseph's advances to the second round of the GNAC tourney for the first time since 2015 and will host #5 University of Saint Joseph (15-11) in a semifinal matchup on Thursday at 7:00 PM. The Blue Jays picked up their first men's basketball postseason victory with an upset 95-84 win at #4 Suffolk University in other second-round action this evening.
With the loss, the Wildcats' hopes of winning consecutive GNAC Championships are dashed as their 2018-19 season comes to a close.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Monks came out firing and held a 25-11 lead after senior guard Darian Berry (Rochester, N.H.) made a layup with 11:33 left in the first half. The Wildcats whittled away at the deficit and cut the SJC cushion down to six points (37-31) when junior guard Brian Hogan-Gary (Staten Island, N.Y.) dunked on a fast break to cap a 10-5 surge just over five minutes later.
Saint Joseph's countered with a 14-7 run during the remainder of the opening frame and carried a 51-38 advantage into intermission.
The Monks extended their lead to a game-high 22 points when senior guard Jack Hostetler (Somers, Conn.) netted a three-pointer with 14:14 left in the contest. The night was far from over however, as the Wildcats cut the SJC cushion down to single digits on the heels of a 15-4 run with a Randall Ferdinand (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) layup making it a 75-68 game with 4:55 left.
Sophomore guard Jack Casale (Portland, Maine/Cheverus) drilled a three-pointer 65 seconds later to lift his team to an 80-70 lead, but Johnson & Wales responded with eight straight points as senior forward Matt Madoian (North Kingstown, R.I.) nailed a trifecta with 1:35 remaining to make it a one-possession game (80-78).
On the Wildcats' next trip down the floor, Casale forced a turnover and senior guard Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) was fouled and made both freebies to extend the SJC edge to 82-78 with 53 seconds left. Hostetler was 1-for-2 from the line to make it an 83-78 game with 12 seconds left and Hogan-Gary made a layup seven seconds later, but the Wildcats' surge proved to be too little, too late.
STATS OF THE GAME:
Three-point shooting proved to be the difference, as the Monks made 15-of-32 attempts from downtown for a 46.9% clip while the Wildcats shot just 29.4% (5-17) in the narrow setback.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Berry netted 25 points with eight rebounds and three assists
- Casale posted his 10th double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds
- Mileikis added 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting
- Hostetler added 10 points off the bench
LEADERS – JOHNSON & WALES:
- Hogan-Gary led all players with 32 points and added eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals
- Ferdinand poured in 18 points off an 8-for-11 shooting effort with eight boards
- Sophomore guard Donovian Maxfield (York, Pa.) chipped in with 13 points, six assists, four caroms, and three steals
Saint Joseph's improves to 12-14 all-time versus Johnson & Wales University and has now defeated the Wildcats in consecutive meetings on the road for the first time in the history of the matchup.