Senior Matt O’Neill posted team highs of 28 points and eight rebounds and Michael Megafu and Alec Willis both added 18 points as the Bears (11-9, 8-8) split the season series and brought their conference record to .500 and a tie for sixth place.
St. Joseph’s now sits one game behind Farmingdale in fifth place and 1.5 games behind Purchase in fourth place.
Down by one midway through the first half, the Bears used a 13-2 run over four minutes to build a double-digit lead and never trailed again, led by O’Neill’s five points in the run. Aaron Parra came off the bench to add four more.
The second half would turn into a free throw shooting contest, marred by 42 combined fouls called in the stanza. Both teams combined to shoot 64 shots from the charity stripe.
The Dolphins (8-11, 7-7) would cut into the Bears lead as the more efficient team from the line, hitting 74 percent of their 35 attempts, and brought the lead to single digits in the final seconds, but never posed a serious comeback threat.
In his first career start, senior Nolan Parr scored a career-high 11 points, on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting night with three trifectas, also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists.
20-point efforts not enough for Lady Bears
Despite 29 points from sophomore Destiny Marino and 26 from freshman Victoria Porcasi, St. Joseph’s College let a double-digit lead slip away against defending Skyline Conference champions College of Mount Saint Vincent, falling 89-67 in the opener at The Hill Center.
With the game deadlocked at the half after the Bears (6-15, 5-7) led by as many as 17, the sides traded leads eight times in a hard-fought third quarter. But Mount Saint Vincent (11-8, 8-3) unleashed a 23-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to take control of the game for good.
Marino game-high 29 points were just three shy of her career-best. The sophomore did set new school single-game records in free-throws made (15) and attempts (23). In addition, Marino grabbed 10 boards for her seventh double-double of the season.
Meanwhile, Porcasi fell one short of her career-high en route to her second consecutive 20-plus point performance and sixth of the season.
Senior Erica Eddy chipped in nine points and hounded the opposing offense with a team-best six steals.
St. Joseph’s drained 8-of-14 attempts in the first quarter for a 57.1 percent connect-rate. But the Lady Bears shot 37.5 percent in the second, 33.3 percent in the third and made just 3-of-16 (18.8%) in the final quarter.
Now 5-7 in the conference, St. Joseph’s falls to sixth in the standings with four games remaining on the regular season schedule. But the Lady Bears maintain a one-game lead over SJC Long Island in the race for the final playoff spot.
Both the men and women have one day off to regroup before traveling to Albany for a double-header with Skyline conference foes Sage on Wednesday.