WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's basketball team couldn't have been happier to be home, as they came running out of the gates early, and never looked back, knocking off the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Trailblazers, 108–63, inside the O'Connell Athletic Center Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Jays (5-2) led from the opening tip behind stellar play from freshman guards Ryan O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.) and Chris Childs (Bronx, N.Y.), who were unconscious in the first half, scoring 12 points each. O'Neill was a perfect 2-for-2 from three in the first, and did just about everything on the floor throughout (20 PTS, 5 REBS, 3 ASTS, 2 BLKS). Childs was a perfect 3-for-3 from deep in the first and finished with 18. Freshman center Nadir Dixon-Thompson (Dorchester, Mass.) was one point shy of a double-double in the first half (9 PTS, 11 REB), and finished with his second double-double of the year (11 PTS, 14 REBS). 50% shooting from the field and 60% shooting from three opened the game up within minutes.
Junior guard Joaquin Scullark (New York, N.Y.) and sophomore guard Mike Demartinis (Burlington, Mass.) led all Trailblazers (1-5) in scoring with 14 each. Scullark was held to just 7-of-23 shooting for the game.
Despite a new look starting lineup for First Year Head Coach Jim Calhoun, USJ still scored the first 10 points of the game. O'Neill scored twice, freshman point guard Delshawn Jackson Jr. (Hartford, Conn.) drilled a three from the top, and Dixon-Thompson cleaned up inside. USJ continued to control the pace, taking a 14-3 lead with 14:43 left. The lead would remain in double digits the rest of the way, as Saint Joe's converted in a variety of ways; in their primary set offense, in transition, and on the offensive glass.
Calhoun is now 5th on the list of college head coaches with 800-plus career victories, passing legendary Kentucky Head Coach Adolph Rupp with 878 wins.
USJ is home for the second of a three-game homestand, next Saturday, December 8th, at 1:00 p.m. against Pine Manor College (Mass), inside the O'Connell Athletic Center, on the campus of USJ. MCLA is headed home for a game against Rensselaer (N.Y.) Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00 p.m.