College of St. Joseph's men's basketball team hosted Central Maine Community College on Saturday, Feb. 9 and won 78-67 after trailing by nine at halftime. The win over the then 11th ranked team in the nation in Division II came on Senior Day. DQ Abernathy, Junior FanFan and Charles Isaac Jr. were honored before the game. Isaac went on to score a game-high 32 points and hit the 2,000 career point mark once he reached 17 points in the second half.
The teams were evenly matched. The lead in the game changed seven times and was tied once. CMCC had the slight 47-45 edge in rebounds and had 21 turnovers to CSJ's 13. The Saints won the second chance point battle 17-14 and points in the paint category 38-30. The Mustangs received 15 points from their bench while CSJ had 11 bench points.
CSJ trailed 43-34 at the half. CMCC shot 44.7 percent (14-of-35) in the first frame. They shot 25 percent (5-for-20) from three and 66.7 percent from the foul line (4-for-6). The Fighting Saints shot 40 percent from the field, 50 percent from downtown (5-for-10) and 1-for-2 from the free throw line.
Isaac had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block at halftime while Mickalous Snowden had three 3-pointers for 9 points. FanFan made his only attempt from the beyond the arc and had 3 rebounds and 1 steal and Abernathy made a field goal.
The second half started with a layup by Isaac and 3-point shot by CMCC's Freddy Webb. Josh Chery then made a jump shot by the foul line area to put the Mustangs up 48-36. Isaac responded with a make on his second attempt of the half by way of a short jumper before Chery got an easy layup. Isaac responded with a layup of his own to make it a 50-40 game.
Abernathy was fouled on a drive to the basket at the 17:03 mark and went 1-for-2 from the free throw line. Malik Farley converted a layup off an assist by Webb before the Fighting Saints went on a 9-0 run thanks to four points by Isaac, a layup by Brian Kennedy and a 3-pointer by Snowden. The game was within two points, 52-50 at the 14:16 mark.
CMCC responded with a 5-0 run before Bryan Nunez dished an assist off to Isaac for a jump shot. Both players then had 1-for-2 turns at the foul line about 20 seconds apart to make the game 57-54. John Ryals III cut CSJ's deficit to one point with a strong post move and layup, before collecting a rebound on the defensive end for a second consecutive layup and CSJ's first lead since the start of the game.
Deron Walter then collected a rebound off a missed CMCC layup, passed the ball out to Ryals who led a fast break and assisted Walter on a layup at the other end of the court, giving CSJ a 60-57 lead. CSJ kept the lead for the remainder of the contest with a combination of sound rebounding and unselfish movement of the ball offensively.
The Fighting Saints increased their defensive pressure and forced CMCC into 10 second-half turnovers and shooting percentages of 29.4 from the field (10-of-34) and 22.2 from three (2-of-9). CSJ shot 48.6 percent from the field (17-for-35), 25 percent from downtown and 7-of-14 from the foul line.
Isaac finished his historic game with 32 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks and 2 assists. Snowden had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 block. CSJ point guard Adley Eliacin had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and just 1 turnover. FanFan had 3 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. CMCC was led by Chery with 16 points, 14 rebounds and Farley with 14 points. The loss puts the Mustangs at 16-8 on the season.
The Fighting Saints went on to play USCAA #2 New Hampshire Technical Institute the following day (Feb. 10) in Concord, N.H. and fell 116-69. Snowden led the Saints with 20 points, Isaac had 19 points, 8 rebounds and Kennedy scored 11 for CSJ. The Saints are 6-22 as they prepare for their final game of the season at SUNY Delhi on Saturday, Feb. 16.