OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Sophomore Frank Reali (Staten Island, N,Y./Susan Wagner) scored a team-high 20 and Kavan Meiner (Staten Island, N.Y./Susan Wagner) turned in a double-double, but the St. Joseph College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team was unable to hold on to a double-digit second-half lead as host SUNY College at Old Westbury rallied past the Bears in the final minutes to take an 80-76 Skyline Conference win on Saturday afternoon.
How it Happened
The Bears led from the outset as the hosts were given an administrative technical prior to the opening tip and SJC opened an 8-3 lead after Frank Reali sank 3-of-3 from the line fouled on a three-point attempt. In an opening half of runs, Old Westbury jumped ahead for the first time using a 15-4 run over five minutes and led 22-15 at the midway point of the half. SJC responded with a 9-0 outburst in less than a minute and a half behind back-to-back-to-back trifectas from Dimitri Sirakis (Hollis, N.Y./St. Francis Prep), Matt McQuillen (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's), and Reali.
The Panthers then scored six straight to take a five-point lead, 29-24, only to be matched by seven straight from the Bears to put the navy back ahead, 31-29, with three minutes before half. Two scoreless minutes followed but Old Westbury received a late three-pointer to lead by one at the intermission, 32-31.
Neither team was able to gain much separation early in the first and a pair of triples from Reali knotted the game at 36-all and 41-all. Still deadlocked at 43-all, a Meiner layup jumpstarted a 13-3 spurt over four minutes and SJC built the largest separation of the game for either squad, leading by 10, 56-46, with seven minutes to go.
But SJC was unable to build upon the double-digit advantage as turnovers stuttered the offense. Over the next six minutes, the Bears committed six turnovers and were able to get off just five shots, while the Panthers assembled a 24-9 run, shooting 7-of-13 over the spurt and jumped on top 70-65 at the one-minute mark. A McQuillen three-pointer brought the Bears back within two with 15 seconds left but their late rally would come up short.
For the Bears
- Coming off the bench after missing a game due to injury, Frank Reali drained five three-pointers in 29 minutes to lead the team in scoring.
- Kavan Meiner shot 6-of-9 from the field to finish with a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double, also swatting away three shots.
- Bryan Medy (Brooklyn, N.Y./Nazareth Regional) chipped in 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
- Dimitri Sirakis contributed 10 points and handed out seven dimes.
Next up for the Bears
The Bears look to reverse a two-game skid heading to Throggs Neck, N.Y. to face SUNY Maritime College (2-12, 1-8) on Tuesday (Jan. 15). Links to live stats and video available at SJCBears.com