Backcourt Powers Men's Basketball Past Blue Jays, 94-75

Backcourt Powers Men's Basketball Past Blue Jays, 94-75

Dean College 94, University of Saint Joseph 75
Records: Dean College (2-2), University of Saint Joseph (3-1)
Location: Pieri Gymnasium, Franklin, Mass.
Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Time: 5:00 PM

Led by a dominating performance from their three-headed guard combination, Dean College handed the University of Saint Joseph their first loss of the season in convincing fashion, knocking off the Blue Jays, 94-75 on Tuesday evening in non-league men's basketball action.

The game had some buzz surrounding it with USJ playing on the road for the first time after opening the season with three straight wins. The school admitted men for the first time this fall and has former University of Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun, who won three national championships with the Huskies, now leading the program. ESPN sent a documentary crew to follow the team and a major media outlet was on hand to take in the action.

What everyone witnessed was an impressive performance from a Dean team that shot 50 percent from the field, connected on 11 three-pointers and had 18 assists and only nine turnovers.

The Blue Jays came out aggressive and pushed themselves out in front by as many as seven at 18-11 following a Nadir Dixon-Thompson basket less than six minutes into the game.

USJ was still in front minutes later when Noreaga Davis split a pair of free throws but the Bulldogs made their move beginning with a Brandon Szlaien (Buenos Aries, Argentina) layup and then a pair of three-pointers from D'caran Anderson (Compton, Calif.).

A three-point play by Delshawn Jackson, Jr. cut into the Dean advantage but baskets from Jordan Booker (Waterbury, Conn.) and Dayvon Russell (Naugatuck, Conn.) sent the Bulldogs into halftime in front, 44-38.

As the second half wore on, Booker and Russell helped push the Dean advantage out to 12 and when Randolf Thurman (Swampscott, Mass.) knocked down a jumper, the Bulldogs were suddenly ahead, 64-50.

The Blue Jays worked the lead down to seven at 66-59 but seven straight points, including a Thurman three-pointer, had Dean back ahead by 14 minutes later.

Another conventional three-point play by the attacking Jackson, Jr., did cut their deficit down to 13 at 84-71, but a game-ending 10-3 burst from the Bulldogs highlighted by an acrobatic three-point play from Booker and a steal and fast break finish by Russell, sealed the victory.

Despite boasting a roster with six student-athletes listed at 6-5 or taller, USJ was outscored 40-32 in the paint – in large part due to the Dean guards getting into the paint and finishing strong.

The Bulldogs shot 60 percent in the second half (18-for-30), while the Blue Jays connected on just 38 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and just 41 percent for the game.  

Booker led all scorers with 27 points (9-for-18) while adding five rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes of action. Russell, meanwhile, totaled 24 points (10-for-19), four rebounds, five assists and five steals and Thurman added 14 points of his own on 5-for-6 shooting.

Armani Baker (Pawtucket, R.I.) chipped in with seven points and a game-best 11 boards, while Szlaien ended with six points, four rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.

Chris Childs paced the Blue Jays with 15 points.

Dean is back in action on Monday when they play host to Western New England at 7:00 PM.