WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – After a first half that ended with a 28-28 tie, the University of Saint Joseph (Connecticut) outscored Lasell College 54-39 in the second half Thursday evening to post its first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) victory with an 82-67 decision over the Lasers in men's basketball action at the O'Connell Athletic Center.
Lasell suffered its first GNAC loss of the season, falling to 2-1 in conference play (4-11 overall). USJ, led by legendary coach Jim Calhoun, improved to 1-3 in the GNAC (10-8 overall).
Freshman forward Noreaga Davis (Bridgeport, Conn.) led the Blue Jays with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while classmate Chris Childs (Bronx, N.Y.) added 15 points off the bench. Freshman Delshawn Jackson Jr. (Hartford, Conn.) and sophomore Mike Sagay (Bloomfield, Conn.) also scored in double figures for the winners, Jackson with 13 points and Sagay with 11.
Sophomore Kevin Nunez (Dorchester, Mass.) and junior Stefan Masciarelli (Northbridge, Mass.) combined to score 50 of Lasell's 67 points. Nunez posted his second straight double-double, pouring in a career-high 29 points and adding a career-best 15 rebounds, while Masciarelli added 21 points, his 11th 20-point effort this season.
The Blue Jays came out strong, scoring the first nine points of the game, but Lasell roared back with 14 of the next 16 points to take a 14-11 lead. Masciarelli scored the first five points in the rally, and Nunez followed with nine unanswered points.
The teams went back and forth, with five lead changes over a two-minute span, before USJ pulled ahead by six, 28-22 with three minutes to play in the half. Senior Joe O'Brien (Saugus, Mass.) answered with a three-pointer for the visitors and Masciarelli and Nunez combined to hit three free throws to close out the half all squared at 28-all.
The home team scored the first nine points of the second half while keeping Lasell off the board for more than four minutes. A pair of Masciarelli hoops cut the margin to five points, 37-32, with 15 minutes remaining.
Lasell was within five points again, 49-44, with 12 minutes to play, but seven consecutive USJ points pushed the margin up to double digits, 56-44. Another nineight-point run by the Blue Jays extended the lead to 18 points (67-49) with less than five minutes remaining, and the Lasers were unable to come back.
Lasell gets right back into action Saturday with a visit to Regis College for a GNAC matchup at 1:00 p.m. USJ is home again on Saturday, hosting Norwich University in a GNAC affair at 1:00 p.m.
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