STANDISH, Maine – The Suffolk men's basketball team's late rally came up short at the Harold Alfond Center as St. Joseph's (Maine) outlasted the Rams, 80-73, in the squad's regular-season finale Saturday afternoon.
SCORE: Suffolk 73, St. Joseph's (Maine) 80
RECORDS: Suffolk (7-18, 6-12 GNAC) | St. Joseph's (Maine) (13-12, 10-8 GNAC)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Suffolk dug itself out of a 7-2 hole with eight quick points; a three from Warfa Abdillahi, a jumper by Jim Djema and three freebies from Michael Hagopian, who was fouled behind the arc, to gain a 10-7 lead at the 14:53 mark.
Despite the score deadlocking at 12-all, the Rams remained in front thanks to Abdilahi's antics of two more triples to make it a 20-14 Suffolk game. After a Hagopian hoop that kept it a six-point Rams lead, the Monks recharged and used nine unanswered points to swing momentum and the lead in their favor, 27-22, with 4:30 remaining before half.
Suffolk would chip away at SJC's lead down the stretch, but did not make a big enough dent to head into intermission down 33-28.
The Rams found themselves in a 10-point deficit with five minutes into the second half. The margin grew to as large as 14 before Jeff Juron took a timeout to talk things over at the 9:23 minute mark. Out of the break, the Monks put away a hoop before Djema knocked down a long ball to trim the margin back to 11.
The Monks rebuilt their advantage, this time stretching it to as large as 16. The Rams rallied though behind sophomores Hagopian and Djema. A traditional three-point play from Hagopian sparked the run and Djema put the blue-and-gold within seven, 72-65, with his second three of the day.
Abdillahi got in on the action with a layup with 26 seconds remaining before Jonathan Eng knocked down a trey with 14 seconds on the clock to make it a six-point game, 76-60. Taking their chances with the foul game the Rams sent Ian Mileikis to the line. The sophomore guard cashed in on the freebies, but Suffolk's comeback was not over yet as Abdillahi sent his fourth 3-pointer of the day through the netting to bring the Rams within five with four seconds on the clock. The distance would prove to be too much as John Crawley made both free throws to seal the 80-73 win for the Monks.
- Hagopian led the charge with a 20-point effort on a 7-for-16 performance from the floor and a 4-for-4 showing at the line.
- Abdillahi had a standout out day with 16 points off the bench going 6-for-9 from the field and 4-for-6 from long range.
- Djema helped in all aspects of the Rams' offense supplying 14 points and setting up nine shots.
- Defensively, Kevin Querusio, who had four points, paced Suffolk's 23 rebounds with six of his own.
- The Rams shot 49.1 percent (28-57) from the floor and 44.8 percent (13-29) from three-point range. Hagopian was the lone Suffolk player sent the charity stripe and did not miss, going 4-for-4.
- The Monks, who had four different players in double figures, held the upperhand on the glass, 35-23.
- Jonathan Eng made his first collegiate start.
- Hagopian registered his fourth 20-plus point game of the season and of his career.
- Abdillahi marked career highs in points (11), field goals made (6) and three-pointers made (4).
- Suffolk will make its fifth straight GNAC appearance and 14th overall. The Rams have made the trip to the conference's championship tournament every year, but two since joining the league's ranks in 2000.
Suffolk waits the seeding of the GNAC Tournament to find out where the Rams will travel for the Quarterfinals Tuesday, Feb. 21.