Courtesy Norwich Sports Information
NORTHFIELD – Saint Joseph’s College of Maine’s (SJC) freshman guard Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) pulled down the rebound off a Norwich free-throw shot and charged down the court before pulling the trigger from the three-point line at the buzzer to upend the Norwich University men’s basketball team 63-62 on Thursday evening in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play.
Norwich falls to 3-9 overall and 0-5 in league play while Saint Joseph’s improves to 4-8 on the year and 1-4 in the conference.
The Cadets jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first four minutes of the opening tipoff before SJC’ Quinn Richardson-Newton (Saco, Maine) scored six points in a span of two minutes to cut down the margin to two points at the 13:08 mark. Sophomore guard David Hampton (Lebanon, N.H.) nailed a trey to spark a 9-0 run to give Norwich its largest lead of the game at 12 with the score flashing 20-8 with 8:46 remaining in the half.
Not only did the Monks rally from the deficit, but they also took its first lead of the game on a 15-0 run in just under five minutes before Hampton drilled in his second trey of the half to knot the game at 23 points apiece with 3:16 on the board. The teams went back and forth in the closing stages of the stanza before SJC freshman guard Darian Berry (Rochester, N.H.) nailed a long bucket, with his toes just over the three-point line, with five seconds to play to send the Monks into the half with a 28-24 edge.
The Cadets shot 40 percent from the floor in the opening half with the Monks hitting 47.8 percent of their shots.
The second half saw more of a back and forth battle between both teams in the early stages that saw the game knotted three times in the first seven minutes. The Cadets trailed 38-34 at one point before sophomore forward Joe Betrand (Saugus, Mass.) nailed a trey followed by Hampton’s back-to-back long buckets to make it 43-40, only to have the Monks tie up the contest on Berry’s three-pointer, his third long shot of the game, with 13:11 to play.
The remaining 13 minutes of the contest saw seven lead changes and the game tied four times before the Cadets took the lead at 60-57 on sophomore guard Zygimantas Sirvydas’s (Silale, Lithuania) three-pointer with 52 seconds remaining.
SJC would hit three of the four free throw attempts, while Sirvydas hit both his shots from the line to give Norwich the 60-62 edge with just seven seconds on the clock.
Norwich inbounded the ball with sophomore guard Ryan Booth (Northfield, Vt.) being fouled by SJC’s freshman forward Marc Corey (Londonderry, N.H.) and brought up to the line for a 1-and-1 attempt. Booth flicked the shot off and watched the ball clang off the rim as Mileikis pulled down the rebounds and charged up the court before toeing the three-point line and pulled the trigger at the buzzer and watched the ball sink through the net for SJC’s game winner.
Norwich finished the night hitting 45.8 percent of its shots from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc, while SJC hit 50 percent of its shots from the floor and 43.8 percent from the arc.
Hampton finished the night hitting 6-of-9 from beyond the arc for a career-high 18 points to lead the Cadets. Booth would score 11 points with five rebounds and a pair of assists, while Sirvydas chipped in eight points and a team-best seven rebounds with two steals. Senior guard Jimmy Warden (North Andover, Mass.) collected nine points, four rebounds, three assists and a career-high four rebounds for Norwich.
Five players scored in double digits with Richardson-Newton leading the Monks’ scoring with 14 points, while Mileikis and senior guard Craig Luschenat (Boston, Mass.) scored 12 points apiece. Berry and Corey chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Cadets will look to get back into the win column on Saturday when they continue league play with a 1:00 p.m. matchup on the road against Johnson & Wales University. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine will host GNAC foe Albertus Magnus on the same day for the 3:00 p.m. tipoff.