The St. Joseph’s College men’s basketball team was handed a decisive 82-61 loss on Saturday night by visiting Southern Vermont College.
The drubbing was the first game of a Dec. 13th evening double header at Brooklyn Technical High School that pitted the Bears men’s and women’s teams versus their Southern Vermont counterparts.
The defeat was the St. Joseph’s third in a row. The Bears trailed the Mountaineers the entire game.
St. Joseph’s couldn’t find its rhythm on the offensive end from the get-go, settling for perimeter jump shots instead of driving more aggressively to the hoop. Sophomore Guard Justin Gist¬¬– who leads the team in scoring this season– missed all six of his first half shots and finished just 3-14 from the field.
The Mountaineers out-hustled their opponents on the glass and converted several Bears turnovers into fast break points to take an early 21-13 advantage mid-way through the first half.
St. Joseph’s then mounted a rally of its own, led by senior point guard Ervin Maddox, and went into halftime trailing 34-30. It was the closest St. Joseph’s would come to tying the game.
Their comeback fell apart quickly in the second half.
Vermont opened the half by scoring 11 straight points in the first two minutes of play to take a 15-point lead. The Mountaineers increased their lead to 48-30 before St. Joseph’s attempted their second comeback of the night.
Once again it was Maddox to the rescue. Show casing his diverse offensive arsenal, Maddox hit two jump shots and made a difficult reverse layup in transition. The charge brought the Bears within eight, 54-46, with 11:37 to play.
Vermont responded by tightening their defense. They pulled away in the final minutes- leading, at one point, by 24 points. St. Joseph’s Head Coach Joseph Cocozello removed his starting lineup with three minutes remaining.
“We can’t put a whole game together,” Cocozello said after the loss, which dropped St. Joseph’s record to 2-5 on the season. “We haven’t been able to all year.” Cocozello said Vermont’s surge to start the second half proved too much to overcome. “We played from behind and couldn’t get back in it,” said Cocozello.