HACKETTSTOWN, NJ – Bolstered by a career-day from David Louison (Brooklyn, NY/St. Edmund's Prep), the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team snapped a three-game skid with a 67-61 victory over Lehman College in the consolation game of the Centernary College Comfort Inn Holiday Classic on Friday afternoon.
Louison posted a game-high 31 points, the seventh 30-plus point game in the coach Cocozello era, and grabbed 12 boards for his sixth double-double of the season. The rookie forward also swiped four steals and went 9-for-11 from the free-throw line. Louison's efforts were rewarded by being named to the All-Tournament team, also receiving the honor at the Mitchell College Tip-Off Tournament.
St. Joseph's (5-7) received a solid contribution from senior Justin Gist (Brooklyn, NY/Newsome) who netted 14 points to move within 17 points of reaching the 1,000 point scoring plateau. Senior Antoine Forehand (New York, NY/Rice) added nine points and junior Ismael Dabo (Long Island City, NY/St. John's Prep) chipped in eight points and seven caroms.
Lehman (5-6) was led by Mathias Raggiotto who recorded a 20 point, 14 rebound double-double. George Nimmons and Kelvin Gil added 14 points apiece with Nimmons also handing out a game-high six assists.
The Bears would have to play catch-up, as would be the trend in the past few games. Lehman amassed a 14 point lead, 29-15, on a Raggiotto triple with 7:52 in the opening frame. But that would be the most either team would pull ahead as the Bears heated up, closing the half on 8-of-9 shooting, outscoring the Lightning 18-4, entering the lockers knotted at 33-33. Dabo, Louison, Gist and Forehand each contributed to the run with four points each.
Lehman quickly jumped ahead out of the break with back-to-back Gil triples but couldn't extend their lead any further as both teams exchanged baskets over the next several minutes until the Bears caught the Lightning again knotting the game at 48-48 on a Louison three-point play at the 12:08 mark.
That would be the last the Bears would trail, and Louison scored 14 of his 18 second-half points in the final 12 minutes.
Both squads remained deadlocked at 52-52 for over four-minutes before layups by Gist and Louison at 3:30 gave the Bears the lead for good. A layup by Raggiotto pulled the Lightning within two with over a minute to play, but St. Joseph's sank 9-of-12 at the charity stripe in the final minute to seal the victory.
For the game, St. Joseph's went 19-for-25 (76 percent) from the stripe. The Bears defense also limited the Lightning to two field goals over the final 10 minutes.
St. Joseph's couldn't find the range from deep, going 0-for-9 from three-point land, but made up for it inside, outscoring Lehman 36-28 in the paint and held a slight advantage on the glass 43-41.
Both squads will face each other again as St. Joseph's will host Lehman on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at Brooklyn Technical High School to open a two game home stand to kick off the new year. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. following a women's basketball tilt against Mount Saint Vincent at 7 p.m.