BROOKLYN, N.Y.–The St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team will make their Hill Center debut on Thursday, December 18 at 8:00 p.m., capping off a doubleheader in the annual "East vs. West" matchup vs. rival St. Joseph's (Long Island). The Bears look to win their third straight in the annual rivalry and against their future Skyline Conference rivals starting in the 2015-16 season.
Opponent: St. Joseph's (L.I.) (5-4, Skyline 2-1)
Date/Time: Thursday, December 18 • 8:00 p.m.
Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Arena: The Hill Center
Tickets: SOLD OUT
- The Bears (6-3) are coming off a third-place finish in the Connecticut College/Coast Guard Invitational, cruising to a 70-50 victory over Coast Guard on Sunday, December 7 in New London, Conn.
- David Louison (14.9 ppg, 12.6 rpg) is also averaging a double-double and has been the team's most efficient rebounder. The senior has finished with a double-double in eight of nine games this season and needs just 10 caroms to secure his 1000th career rebound. Louison is the NCAA Division III active career leader in rebounds (990) and double-doubles (48)
- Michael Megafu (16.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg) is leading the team is scoring while shooting a team-high 59.6 percent. He needs just 38 points to join the coveted 1000-point scoring club. Only a junior, Megafu sits just behind Lousion at No. 2 in active Division III players with 37.
- Matt O'Neill is fresh off his second career Association of Division III Independents (AD3I) men's basketball Player of the Week (12/9) and was also awarded All-Tournament honors in the Connecticut College/Coast Guard Invitational. Against Coast Guard, O'Neill scored 20 points on 4-4 from beyond the arc and set a new career-high mark with eight assists.
- In the first USCAA Coaches Poll released last week, the Bears entered tied for No. 4, their highest ranking since becoming a USCAA Division I member in 2011.
- The Bears have prevailed in the last two meetings against their sister campus rivals after dropping the first four contests in the series history. The average margin of victory in the last three games has been five points, with two of the three needing OT to decide a winner.
- When St. Joseph's (Brooklyn) joins the Skyline Conference starting in 2015-16, the Bears and Golden Eagles will meet twice as part of a home-and-home league schedule.
- St. Joseph's (L.I.) (5-4) will enter Thursday on a four-game winning streak, including wins over HVIAC-members Vaughn and Pratt. In their last appearance on Friday, December 12, the Golden Eagles dominated Pratt 110-23.
- Senior Sean McCarthy leads the Golden Eagles in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg).
St. Joseph's (L.I.) has a 4-2 advantage in the series history dating back to December 5, 2008 but the Bears currently hold a two-game winning streak. The average margin of victory in the last three games has been five points, with two of the three being decided in OT.
The Bears defeated the Golden Eagles 80-77 on December 21, 2013. Michael Megafu shot 9-for-11 from the floor and a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc to post a team-high 27 points paired with 10 caroms. Joining him in double figures was Matt O'Neill with 15 points, four assists and four rebounds and David Louison with 12 points and nine rebounds. The packed crowd of Bears and Eagles fans at Brooklyn Tech were treated to an exciting game that went down to the wire and featured eight ties and four lead changes.
The Bear Facts
The 6-3 Bears are coming off a third-place finish in the Connecticut College/Coast Guard Invitational. Double-double machines David Louison (8) and Michael Megafu (5) have paced the team with a combined 13 double-doubles. St. Joseph's holds a 4-1 record when both players finish with a double-double.
Megafu (16.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg) has been the Bears' most efficient scorer, shooting a team-best 59.6 percent from the field. Louison (14.9 ppg, 12.6 rpg), the team's leading rebounder, began the season with eight consecutive double-doubles lasting from the season-opener on November 15 until December 6.
Matt O'Neill ranks third on the team in scoring (14.1) while leading the team in assists (4.0) and steals (3.6). O'Neill is the Bears' premier long-range threat, averaging 43.1 percent on 22-51 from downtown. The junior is coming off a 4-4 performance from three against Coast Guard. He was honored with his second career Association of Division III Independents (AD3I) men's basketball Player of the Week on December 9 and was also awarded All-Tournament honors in the Connecticut College/Coast Guard Invitational. O'Neill tied a career-high with eight steals in the opening round against Connecticut and set a new career-high mark with eight assists against Coast Guard. He averaged 15.0 points, six assists and 6.5 steals in the two-game tournament.
Vernon Maddox rounds out four players averaging double-digit scoring (10.3). The senior also boasts 2.8 assists per contest and an 80.4 free-throw percentage.
Bears Last Time Out
On Sunday, December 7, St. Joseph's rebounded from an opening round loss to Connecticut College in the Connecticut Col./Coast Guard Invitational, cruising to a 70-50 third-place victory over Coast Guard in a game they never trailed and led by as much as 32.
Michael Megafu recorded game-highs in points (24) and rebounds (8). The junior finished 10-of-12 from the field and added three assists and three steals. Junior Matt O'Neill reached the 20-point plateau for the third time this season, scoring 20 on 7-of-12 shooting and a perfect 4-of-4 from three. O'Neill also reached a career-high in assists (8) and a game-high in steals (5). David Louison's double-double streak was snapped at eight games but the senior still managed a solid all-round effort with six points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Bear Witness to History
The NCAA Division III active career leader David Louison is just 10 rebounds away from securing his 1000th career rebound and would be the first Bear in the 1000-point, 1000-rebound club. The senior has a career rebounding average of 10.8, fourth in the active Division III leaders. Louison is also the Division III active career leader in double-doubles with 48.
Second on the career double-double list is junior Michael Megafu with 37. The junior also needs just 38 points to gain membership into the coveted 1000-point scoring club alongside Louison.
Bears Receive No. 4 Ranking From USCAA
In the first USCAA Coaches Poll released last Friday, the Bears were ranked tied for fourth, their highest ranking since becoming a USCAA Division I member in 2011. The Bears reached as high as No. 7 two seasons ago before receiving their fifth USCAA National Championship bid in program history.
Inside the Eagles Nest
St. Joseph's (L.I.) will enter Thursday holding a 5-4 record under first-year Head Coach Kevin Spann as the team attempts to bounce back from two consecutive losing seasons. After opening the 2014-15 campaign with an OT victory over Drew in the Rose City Tip-Off Classic, the Golden Eagles proceeded to lose four straight. But St. Joseph's (L.I.) weathered the storm and are back on track, responding with a four-game winning streak to improve to a winning record in time for the highly anticipated East vs. West rivalry meeting.
The Eagles are led by senior Sean McCarthy, who leads the team in scoring (15.8) and rebounding (7.7). Sophomore Andy Laurent (12.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg) has been St. Joseph's (L.I.) second most consistent scoring option while senior Nick Gallina (5.3 apg, 5.2 rpg) has been the team's most efficient passer and second leading rebounder. Sophomore Fernando Vazquez (10.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg) rounds out three players averaging double-digit scoring.
St. Joseph's (L.I.) Last Time Out
On Friday, December 12, the Golden Eagles' offense exploded in their most dominant performance of the season, launching past Pratt 110-23. In the lopsided victory, the Eagles shot 61.5 percent (48-72) from the field to tally their highest offensive total of the season and held their opponent to a 17 percent field goal percentage. St. Joseph's (L.I.) almost matched their highest scoring total in history (115) dating back to the 1998-99 season.
Five players accumulated double-digit scoring totals for the Golden Eagles. Sophomore Fernando Vazquez had a game-high 21 points while freshman Stephen Cohen and senior Brady Colucci tallied 13 apiece. Colucci also secured a team-high eight boards. St. Joseph's (L.I.) extended their win streak to four games with the dominant victory.
Next Up for the Bears
The Bears will head west for a pair of games in Orange, Calif., meeting La Verne on Monday, December 29 at 5 p.m. and Chapman on Tuesday, December 30 at 4:30 pm. Live stats will be available at SJCBears.com.