BOSTON – In a game that featured 12 lead chances and 11 tied scores, the second-seeded Suffolk men's basketball team came out on the wrong side of a 95-84 decision versus seventh-seed Saint Joseph (Conn.) in the GNAC Quarterfinals inside Regan Gymnasium Tuesday night.
SCORE: Suffolk 84 | Saint Joseph (Conn.) 95
RECORDS: Suffolk (18-8) | Saint Joseph (Conn.) (15-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first frame was truly a back-and-forth affair with two thirds of the advantage exchanges taking place over the first over 20 minutes. With time nearly expiring before the break and Suffolk down two, Alex Jacovides made what would be one of the biggest lead swaps when he knocked down a deep triple to send the Rams into the locker room up 41-40.
Out of the break, Michael Hagopian converted a traditional three-point play to five the blue-and-gold its largest lead of the night, 44-40.
See-saw action ensued from there with Jacovides swishing a trey to put Suffolk ahead 55-54 just over five minutes into second half action.
The advantage switched for one final time as Ryan O'Neill registered a pair of free throws and Noreaga Davis followed suit with an old school three-point play to give the Blue Jays a five-point, 60-55 cushion.
The Rams struggled to make up the ground, but continued to chip away with free throws here and a bucket there.
Down seven with just over four minutes remaining on the clock, Jacovides' hot hands trimmed the margin back to two possessions, 77-74, with a deep ball from downtown. USJ responded with a three-pointer of its own to regain the seven-point distance.
Suffolk fell behind by eight once again before Duffy hit the front end of a one-and-one for his 20th point of the night and 1,000 of his career. The junior sunk the second to cut the deficit back to six with 2:34 left on the clock.
Four quick points from the Blue Jays pushed the visitors cushion to double digits, 87-77.
With time running against them Jacovides heroics came into play with 34 seconds to go when the sophomore's fourth three-pointer of the night went through the netting to put the Rams within nine, 93-84.
Jeff Juron took a timeout to draw up a defensive stop, which came on the Blue Jays inbounds play and gave possession back to the hosts. Hagopian's trey was off of the mark and the blue-and-gold had to gamble with the foul game, that resulted in the 95-84 final.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Duffy led the way offensively for Suffolk with a 21-point performance with 12 coming from the charity stripe. He added five assists, two boards and one steal to his stat line.
- Steven DiPrizio flirted with a double-double effort with 19 points and eight boards.
- Hagopian had 17 points on a 6-for-15 showing from the field.
- Jacovides put in 20 points off the bench on a 7-for-12 day from the floor, which included a 4-for-9 effort from three-point land. Defensively, he added seven caroms.
- Suffolk struggled from the floor shooting a season-low 39.7 percent (25-63) from the field, and 31.8 percent from behind-the-arc (7-22).
- The Rams' 90 percent connection rate (27-30) at the free throw line kept them in the game.
- USJ, who received a game-high 24 points from Delshawn Jackson Jr., outrebounded the Rams, 36-31.
- Suffolk made its sixth straight GNAC Tournament appearance and 15th league postseason trip overall.
- The Rams met Saint Joseph (Conn.) in the conference tourney for the first time.
- Suffolk hosted its first GNAC Tournament tilt since 2004.
- Duffy became the 30th member of Suffolk's 1,000-point club and is the first student-athlete in the Rams' men's basketball history to hit the feat as junior since Brian Small did so in 2008.