BROOKLYN, N.Y. — After dropping both contests in the Trinity College Holiday Invitational, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team looks to bounce back in the first week of 2018. On Wednesday (Jan. 3), they travel to Purchase State College to battle the Panthers for the first time this season. Then, they conclude a Skyline doubleheader at The Hill Center hosting sister school SJC Long Island on Saturday (Jan. 6).
Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m.
at Purchase State
- SJC comes into Wednesday's matchup with a 5-7 overall record, but they stand at 4-3 in conference play. Last weekend, the Bears made the trip to Hartford, Connecticut to participate in the Trinity College Holiday Invitational. On day one they fell by a wide margin (80-50) to the host Bantams as no Bear reached 10 points on a cold offensive outing. Then, they took on Westfield State University in the consolation game on day two and, despite 47 combined points from Alec Willis (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Joseph by the Sea) and Dimitri Sirakis (Hollis, N.Y./St. Francis Prep), lost by a final score of 90-79.
- The Panthers have been itching to hit the hardwood for nearly a month now as their last game came on December 7. Coming in Purchase sits at a very respectable 6-2 (3-1 Skyline) and is riding a four-game win streak featuring three league opponents. Most recently, they downed Yeshiva 67-65 behind five players in double-figures while nabbing their second Skyline win by three or fewer points.
Keys to the Contest
- Based on their last performance, offense shouldn't come as an issue to the Bears as they totaled 79 points (47 from the starting backcourt) yet finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Therefore, defense should be the main concern for St. Joseph's considering they have given up 79+ points in five of their seven losses this season. Purchase averages 73.9 ppg as opposed to SJC's 74.8 points-allowed average, so it will be seen which side of the floor proves to be the difference.
- Balanced scoring is the name of the game for the Panthers as they boast five players averaging 10+ points and another with seven ppg. This wide range of point distribution makes it difficult to hone in on a single offensive weapon, so the Bears will have to communicate well and stay true to their defense. Their leading scorers, Deshawn Cann (13.9 ppg) and Nikeem Deleon (13.4 ppg), are slashing guards who shoot low percentages from three, but are surrounded by three rotation players shooting >50% 3FG (min. 19 attempts).
- The Bears will look to break a four-game losing streak to Purchase in the all-time series and they're currently 5-8 overall vs. the Panthers.
Saturday, Jan. 6 at 4 p.m.
vs. SJC Long Island
- In a tough season so far the Golden Eagles are currently 2-7 (2-3 Skyline) and have lost their last five games. Having not played since December 13 they will be looking to start fresh in 2018, putting their most recent loss to William Paterson behind them. In that game 20 points from Trey Kinard and a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double from Isaiah Moore weren't enough as Long Island fell 81-78. Before that, SJCLI was downed by the Bears (Dec. 9) on a last-second jumper from Willis giving the city dwellers a 61-59 win.
Keys to the Contest
- The Bears should look to maximize perimeter play, as SJC Long Island features the fifth-leading shot blocker in the league, 6-foot-6 sophomore center Brad Weiss (1.3 bpg). Ball movement is always important, especially for a well-balanced Bears squad, and they're tied for fifth in the league in assist rate (1.094 apg) at the start of the week. The offense will run through him and Willis and when they're shots are falling SJCBK can be hard to stop. Screening for them and holding it down on the block will be Stephane Etheart (Hollis, N.Y./St. Francis Prep), Kavan Meiner (Staten Island, N.Y./Susan Wagner), and off the bench Aaron Parra (Brooklyn, N.Y./Mnsgr. McClancy). The sister schools play for the sixth time as conference opponents on Saturday.
- Brooklyn's December 9 victory snapped a four-game losing streak to the Golden Eagles and they now sit ar 4-8 all-time vs. SJCLI.