Bears Defeat Vaughn; Advance to HVMAC Championship Game
ALBANY, NY – The St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team advanced to their seventh straight Hudson Valley Men's Athletic Conference championship game by virtue of a 89-64 win over Vaughn College in the 2012 HVMAC Tournament semifinals on Saturday afternoon at the Albany College of Pharmacy.
St. Joseph's (13-13) avenged a regular season loss to Vaughn (10-13) and set up a championship rematch against perennial rivals, top-seeded Berkeley College. The Bears have met Berkeley for the HVMAC title in six of the last seven years. Berkeley advanced to the championship game defeating Albany Pharmacy, 91-83, in the other semifinal.
Three Bears finished in double figures, led by senior Justin Gist (Brooklyn, NY/Newsome) who tallied 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and freshman David Louison (Brooklyn, NY/St. Edmund Prep) who recorded his ninth double-double of the season netting 13 points and pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. Freshman Kevin Alesi (Staten Island, NY/Tottenville) had 13 points, draining 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Junior Jan Rogowski (Woodside, NY/St. John's Prep) chipped in nine points with eight rebounds.
For Vaughn, Jihad Ceaser all scorers with 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting and Jared Ndiba netted 21 points. John Brooks grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Bears took control from the outset, trying to prevent the outcome of the regular season meeting where Vaughn hung around until the final minutes and stole the game from the Bears. St. Joseph's raced out to an 18-5 lead in the first eight minutes and continued to pull away building 45-21 advantage at the break. The Bears had their best shooting half of the season, connecting at a blistering 60 percent rate (18-of-30) while the defense limited the Warriors to only 21 percent shooting (6-of-29).
St. Joseph's lead remained above 20 for most of the second half until Vaughn tried to stage a late rally slowly chipping away, managing to get as close as 11 on a pair of Ceaser free throws with 1:32 remaining. But it would be too little too late, as they were forced to foul and the Bears sealed the wire-to-wire win from the charity stripe.
The Bears would fall just shy of their season-best connect rate, finishing with 52.5 percent (31-of-59) for the tilt. St. Joseph's also dominated inside, outscoring Vaughn 38-16 inside the paint.
Tomorrow's championship game is scheduled for 2 pm at the Albany College of Pharmacy. Fans can follow the live stats and audio on www.SJCBears.com.