MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Albertus Magnus held off a late charge by St. Joseph's of Long Island, pulling out an 87-84 win in an NCAA first-round match-up in Middlebury College's Pepin Gym. The Falcons (28-1) advance to tomorrow night's regional final at 7:00 p.m., where they will take on the winner of the Middlebury/Morrisville game played later tonight. The Golden Eagles end their season with a 21-5 mark.
Albertus Magnus went on a 6-0 spurt in early in the first half to break-up a 7-7 tie, taking a 13-7 lead on a jumper from Ray Askew. Leading 13-11, the Falcons went on a 9-0 run to grab a 22-11 advantage with 11:06 left to play. The lead grew to as many as 14 before a quick 4-0 spurt made it a 33-23 game with 3:42 remaining on a hoop from St. Joseph's Vincent Russo. A late lay-up from Zach Dugas gave Albertus Magnus a 39-27 lead at the intermission.
Albertus Magnus shot 53.3% from the floor in the first half, while St. Joseph's shot just 28.6%, going 1-15 from behind the arc.
A three from Chris Jimenez cut the Albertus Magnus lead to eight early in the second half. The Falcons extended their advantage to a game-high 20 points at 60-40 with 12:29 remaining on a bucket from Spencer Smith. The Golden Eagles chipped away, coming within 12 before the Falcons increased their lead to 17 on a basket from Darius Watson with 8:34 remaining.
Trailing 77-65 with 5:30 remaining, St. Joseph's went on a 16-2 run to take an 81-79 lead with 3:25 remaining. Following a media timeout at the 3:53 mark, Shahab Syed hit a lay-up, before a five second violation gave the ball back to the Golden Eagles during the key run. Threes from Trey Black and Jimenez with a turnover sandwiched in between gave St. Joseph's their first lead of the game at 81-79.
The game went back and forth down the stretch, with Arshad Jacskon of Albertus Magnus hitting a huge bucket driving to the lane as the shot clock was winding down in the final minute. St. Joseph's had one final shot to tie the game, but a three from Jimenez was off the mark as time expired.
Askew and Watson each finished with a game-high 28 points for Albertus Magnus. Askew also grabbed 12 boards and earned four assists in the game. Jefferson Lora added 10 points and nine rebounds in the victory. Eric Klingsberg paced St. Joseph's with 20 points, Shahab scored 18, Jimenez netted 17, while Olivier Laurent chipped in with 14.
St. Joseph's took advantage of Albertus Magnus' 21 turnovers in the game, capitalizing with 31 points, while their bench held a 38-13 advantage. Albertus Magnus shot 56.4% from the floor and held a 49-32 rebounding advantage in the contest. St. Joseph's finished at 38.55 shooting, after hitting 46.5% of its shots in the second half. The Golden Eagles ended the game 5-30 (16.7%) from behind the arc, but connected on 19-23 free throws.
Story by Middlebury Athletic Communications