BANGOR, Maine - The Husson men's basketball team (6-2) fought long and hard to keep the Alumni Cup for another year as they continuously battled back from behind to come with a basket of the Saint Joseph's College of Maine (7-2) before the Monks once again separated themselves in the very end for a 78-74 victory in the 2nd Annual Alumni Cup on Saturday afternoon in Newman Gym.
The Monks came out strong, opening up the first half with nine unanswered points following a 3-point jumper by DJ Bussey to bring the score to a quick 11-5 advantage for the visiting team. Finding their groove midway through the half, Husson delivered six unanswered points as Dylan Angel's defensive plays off the bench and a jumper by Kyanti Blyden helped the Eagles cut the deficit down to five at 9:21.
The Monks were looking to put the pressure on, but Husson kept the pace on offensive as a Justin Martin layup cut the Monks' lead to two with 2:49 left to play in the half. The Monks pulled away at the end thanks to a couple of late 3-pointers from Darian Berry and Jack Hostetler to go into halftime with a 42-32 lead.
Both teams came into the half playing well on both ends of the court. Cole Thomas found his sweet spot hitting back-to-back threes as the Eagles went on a 10-0 run in less than 90 seconds, but a 3-pointer in response by Monk Jack Casale at 13:38 to make the score 51-46 slowed down Husson's momentum for a few minutes.
Husson's offense looked to find a groove as Isiah Hart used his vision of the court and passing ability to find Martin under the basket for an easy lay in and with 6:54 left in the game, Hart hit Bussey on a kick out pass for a three to tie the game at 57.
Tatsuaki Sakai found teammate Ian Milinkis on a sneaky pass under the basket as Milinkis finished the basket while drawing a foul to give the Monks a 62-59 lead, but barely seconds later, Husson's Bussey tied the score again, 62-62, with a deep three from the corner.
Saint Joseph's separated themselves by a couple baskets as they closed out the remaining minutes just barely pushing ahead of the Husson, 78-74.
Justin Martin put up back-to-back double-double games on his home court with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
DJ Bussey had another big game from behind the arc with four 3-pointers to add on to his 17 total points and two steals.
Cole Thomas helped out with five assists, eight points, and five boards.
Leaders: SAINT JOSEPH'S
Darian Berry shot impressively from behind the arc leading all scorers with 27 points including five 3-pointers and nine rebounds.
Jack Casale was the only Monk registering a double-double between 16 points and 13 boards.
Ian Milelkis helped keep the momentum for the Monks with 18 points, three assists, and seven rebounds.
Husson kicks off a long couple of weeks on the road with a game at WPI on Sunday, December 16th at 1:00 p.m.