Willis Nails Game-Winner, Men’s Basketball Holds Off SJC Long Island

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. — Following a convincing home victory in their last outing, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team traveled to sister school SJC Long Island for a Skyline showdown on Saturday evening. The Bears took a 13-point lead to the locker room, but the hosts rallied in the second and even took the lead late until SJCBK senior captain Alec Willis (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Joseph by the Sea) buried a last-second jumper to lift his squad to their fifth win of 2017-18.

The Basics

  • Final Score: SJC Brooklyn 61, SJC Long Island 59
  • Records: SJC Brooklyn (5-5, 4-3), SJC Long Island (2-6, 2-3)
  • Location: Patchogue, N.Y. — Danzi Center
  • SJC Starters: Willis (G), Sirakis (G), Etheart (F), Etheart (F), Meiner (F)

Turning Point

  • The Golden Eagles reeled off a 9-0 run early in the second half to bring their double-digit halftime deficit within single digits (42-34).

How It Happened

  • After an evenly matched start to the game, the Bears rolled to a 14-1 run just past the halfway mark in the first (8:28) with a slam from sophomore Stephane Etheart (Hollis, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) as the exclamation point.
  • 21 combined points from Willis and sophomore big man Kavan Meiner (Staten Island, N.Y./Susan Wagner) at the break had the Bears offense in top form, as they held a 38-25 lead after one.
  • SJC Long Island returned from intermission inspired with their 9-0 run (16:52) and continued to catch up to the Bears, taking the lead (45-44) on a Brad Weiss finish six minutes later.
  • The Golden Eagles would go on to lead by as much as seven, yet SJCBK refused to go away and kept things close into the final minute, as Willis sped the ball up the floor down one-point with three seconds to play and sank a jumper from the right baseline to put the Bears on top in the battle of St. Joseph's.

For the Bears

  • Etheart snatched a game-high 14 rebounds on the way to his second-straight double-double, as he and Meiner (6 reb) tied for the team-high with 14 points each.
  • Willis poured in 13 (5-11, 2-4 3FG) and swiped two steals in the victory.
  • Point-forward Sebastien Etheart (Hollis, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) showed off his passing skills, dishing out half of the team's 12 assists on top of five boards and seven points.

Inside the Box Score

  • The Bears dominated the frontcourt, scoring 34 points in the paint compared to SJCLI's 12 as well as winning the rebounding battle (36-26).
  • Struggles from the free-throw line (50% on the night) didn't hold SJC Brooklyn back from victory, even though the Golden Eagles shot 81.3% from the stripe.

The Bear Facts

  • With the win, the Bears snapped a four-game losing streak to their suburban counterparts and are now 4-8 in the all-time series.
  • Including this 14-rebound performance, Stephane Etheart sits at fourth in the conference with 9.2 boards per game.

Next Up for the Bears

  • An end-of-semester break before heading to the Trinity College (Conn.) Holiday Invitational and battling the host Bantams on Saturday (Dec. 30) at 5 p.m. Live stats and video coverage at SJCBears.com.