WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - University of Saint Joseph (USJ) and Hall of Fame head men's baketball coach Jim Calhoun joined an exclusive club Friday night, earning his 900th career win as the Blue Jays downed the Pratt Institute Cannoneers, 105-61, inside the O'Connell Center in non-conference action. The victory is the 10th straight for the Blue Jays as they improve to 11-2 on the season.
Calhoun becomes the 11th coach in men's college basketball history to amass 900 career wins, and is fourth all-time amongst head coaches with 10 plus years at the NCAA Division I level. Calhoun sports a career record of 900-394 (.695). He won 248 games in 14 years at Northeastern, 625 in 26 years at UConn, and is now 27-14 halfway through year two at USJ.
Victory 900 was never in doubt. The Blue Jays raced out to a 51-28 lead at the half and were never threatened. Sophomore guard Delshawn Jackson Jr. (Hartford, Conn.) led the way with 21 points (7-11 FG, 1-3 3FG, 6-6 FT) and junior forward Jordan Powell (Middletown, Conn.) logged his second career double-double with the Blue Jays finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore gyard Tyree Mitchell (East Hartford, Conn.) was a spark off the USJ bench, netting a career-high 19 points and grabbing a career-high seven boards. Sophomore Griffin Levine (Dallas, Texas) had a game-high 25 points to go with five rebounds to lead the way for the Cannoneers.
Score: Saint Joseph 105, Pratt 61
Records: USJ (11-2), Pratt (5-7)
Location: O'Connell Center | West Hartford, Conn.
COACH QUOTE [Jim Calhoun on career win 900]
"Here I am in this situation because of so many great players and so many great schools, just so many kids. They [players] fill a void that was missing...I do love it [coaching]. I know it doesn't appear that way all the time. It's a funny kind of love, that's all I can tell you. But it's a true love...As long as I coach it has to be all about building the relationships with my players — the day I lose that, I don't care about the Xs and Os, then I won't coach. It's got to be about them. It's got to be about all of us."
PLAYER QUOTE [Jordan Powell on Coach Calhoun]
"It's crazy because we're all from here and we all watched him when we were young on TV, winning national championships. Seeing him every day, it's really a blessing. He doesn't make it about him. He helps us on the court and off the court."
- Pratt kept things close early on and after a Levine three, USJ held a slight lead, 16-15, with 12 minutes left in the first half.
- The Blue Jays would ramp up the intensity on the defensive end though, forcing turnovers and getting steals which resulted in easy hoops.
- USJ closed the first half on a 35-13 run to take a 51-28 lead into the locker room and never looked back.
- Another quick 12-1 spurt to start the second half put the game out of reach as the Blue Jays' lead ballooned to 63-29 with 16:38 left.
- The Blue Jays held the Cannoneers without a field goal for 4:52 to start the second stanza.
- Saint Joseph would build its lead to as large as 47, 102-56, on its way to to 105-61 triumph.
NUMBER TO KNOW
900 - USJ's victory over Pratt on Friday night marked Coach Calhoun's 900th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
- The Blue Jays have won each of the last 10 games by double digits, defeating opponents by an average margin of victory of 29 points during the streak.
- USJ held Pratt to 36.8% shooting (21-57 FG). Entering Friday, the Blue Jays were second in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 36.0% shooting on the year.
- 105 points marks a new season-high for USJ and it's the fourth time the Blue Jays have eclipsed the 100-point plateau in program history.
- USJ dominted Pratt inside, outrebounding the Cannoneers, 56-24, and outscoring them, 72-18, in points in the paint.
- Saint Joseph logged a season-high 22 offensive rebounds and finished with 17 second-chance points.
- The Blue Jays forced 22 Pratt turnovers and scored 35 points off those turnovers.
- USJ shot 51.9% (40-77) from the field in the win. It marks the third straight game the Blue Jays have shot better than 50% from the floor.
- Saint Joseph is now 1-0 all-time against Pratt.
The USJ men's basketball team is back inside the O'Connell Center Tuesday night when they host NESCAC opponent Williams College. Prior to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. between the Blue Jays and Ephs, USJ will honor Coach Calhoun with a brief ceremony to celebrate his 900th career win. Tickets to the game can be purchased here.