College of St. Joseph's men's basketball team (#4) faced Villa Maria College (#1) in the Northeastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinals on Feb. 23 and fell 110-82.
The Fighting Saints trailed by just 13 at halftime, but Villa exploded for 61 points in the second half to secure themselves a spot in the NIAC Championship on Saturday. The Vikings are ranked #6 by the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) and will be heading to the National Tournament regardless of the outcome of Saturday's NIAC final against UMaine-Fort Kent.
The Vikings' impeccable shooting performance from the floor (58 percent as a team) and 60 points in the paint proved to be the deciding factor of Friday night's game. CSJ scored 44 points in the paint and 17 points off turnovers, whereas Villa notched 28 points off turnovers. The Fighting Saints committed 19 turnovers to Villa's 13.
Daniel Thompson came off Villa's bench to score a game-high 27 points off 9-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-6 from three. NIAC First Team selection and Rookie of the Year Lonnie Taylor tallied 25 points and 14 rebounds and fellow First Teamer DeJaun Owens had 18 points in the contest.
NIAC All-Defensive selection Charles Isaac led the Fighting Saints across the board on Friday. He notched team-highs in the following categories: 25 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block. Mickalous Snowden tallied 15 points off 5-for-8 shooting from 3-point range. Trent Torain came off the bench to score nine points and tally two rebounds and an assists.
Three Fighing Saints pulled down five rebounds apiece: Deron Walter, Christopher Kidd and DQ Abernathy. Kidd also secured seven points and an assist. Abernathy netted a 3-pointer and collected one assist. Walter also had two points and one steal. All but one player made it on the scoreboard for CSJ. The Fighting Saints finished the season 2-22 and will look to rebuild for next season.