THROGGS NECK, N.Y. — Behind a 32-point, 22-rebound effort from junior Sebastien Etheart (Hollis, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) and a combined team shooting night over 50 percent, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's basketball team avenged an earlier home loss with Maritime College, taking an 86-72 road Skyline Conference victory on Tuesday evening.
Sophomore Frank Reali (Staten Island, N.Y./Susan Wagner) also turned in 21 points to help the Bears (6-10, 5-7) hold off a second-half surge by the Privateers (2-13, 1-9) who rallied from as many as 16 down to tie the game, only see SJC pull away with a late run to move back ahead double-digits. With the victory, the Bears sit just one game out of playoff position in a tie for seventh place in the tighly packed Skyline race.
How it Happened
The Bears scored the first five points of the contest off a Reali triple and a Kavan Meiner (Staten Island, N.Y./Susan Wagner) bucket before the Privateers responded with five straight and the squads traded the lead twice until an 8-all tie five minutes in. SJC would take the lead back with Reali at the line and remained on top until the second. The navy and gray were unable to pull away and their advantage hovered around five before connecting on their next five attempts to assemble a 12-1 run over two minutes to jump out to a 35-20 lead with six minutes before intermission. Etheart would carry a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double into the lockers as SJC led 44-30.
The hosts came out of the lockers the fresher team however and unleashed a quick 10-0 run sparked by three-straight triples to cut the Bears lead to one, 46-45, at the 12:57 mark and the squads traded baskets until the Privateers closed the gap at 55-all. An SJC 10-3 spurt jump-started by an Etheart trifecta put the Bears back on top, 67-60, a lead they wouldn't relinquish again.
With Maritime trying to bring the game back to one possession, a Brendan McGovern three shrank the Bears lead to four, 70-66, with just under four minutes to play, but the Bears put the game away with a 15-4 run to stretch the lead to an insurmountable 15 with 1:23 to play. In the final surge, the Bears connected on all four of their field goal attempts, which included 3-of-3 from behind the arc, and a perfect 4-of-4 from the line in the bonus with Etheart and Reali combining for 12 points in the spurt.
For the Bears
- Sebastien Etheart shot an efficient 11-of-21 from the field and 5-of-6 from three-point land for his career- and game-high 32 points. His 22 rebounds finished one shy of tying his Bears single-game record and he dished out four assists. It is the second 30-20 game in team history following Michael Megafu's 31 points and 20 rebounds against SJC Long Island in December 2012.
- Frank Reali turned in his third 20-plus point game in the last four, finishing with 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three threes.
- Dimitri Sirakis logged 15 points on 7-of-13 from the field, along with a game-high six assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
- Kavan Meiner chipped in seven points and five rebounds while Frank's twin brother Nick Reali (Staten Island, N.Y/Susan Wagner) scored his first collegiate points knocking down both his three-point attempts and turned in a strong 19 minutes off the bench, grabbing three rebounds, swiping three steals and finishing with a game-best +19 plus-minus rating.
Next up for the Bears
The Bears return home for two straight, welcoming United States Merchant Marine Academy (5-8, 3-6) on Saturday (Jan. 19) for a 3 p.m. Skyline Conference tilt capping off a doubleheader with the women. Live stats and video will be available on SJCBears.com.