(Nashua, N.H.) Trailing by 14 points at 78-64 with eight minutes remaining, host River rallied to tie the game at 80-all just four minutes later, but a late 16-6 run from Saint Joseph's over the next three helped push the lead back to 11 and the Blue Jays held on down the stretch, topping the Raiders 104-93 in a match-up of Great Northeast Athletic Conference foes at a boisterous Muldoon Gymnasium Saturday.
Junior Nate Hale (Nashua) led all scorers for the Raiders (1-18, 0-7 GNAC) with a career-high 37 points on 12 of 17 shooting with five three pointers and was a perfect 8 of 8 at the line, chipping in with five boards and a pair of assists. Issaiah Chappell (Sunapee, N.H.) and Keith Poitier (East Hartford, Conn.) added 15 points.
Jake Sullivan led five Blue Jays in double figures with 23 points and tied for the game high with 10 boards, while Chris Childs and Ryan O'Neill posted 21 points each. Mike Sagay chipped in with 13 points while Delshawn Jackson, Jr. posted 11.
USJ (12-8, 3-3 GNAC) was steady from the field, finishing 50-percent from the floor, while Rivier was 46-percent on the night.
The Blue Jays used their size differential to finish with key wins in overall rebounding (42-35), overwhelmed the Raiders in paint (58-26), second chance points (31-5), points off turnovers (25-13) and bench points (32-18).
Despite the disparities, Rivier never let St. Joseph pull away further than 15 and climbed back in to tie it with a 14-2 run keyed by 10 points from Hale including two from outside the arc, the second that tied it at 80 with 4:20 remaining.
But USJ answered with an 8-0 spurt to reclaim control behind two big layups from Ryan O'Neill while Rivier coughed up two costly turnovers and misfired on two from outside and the lead kicked back to 11 after a pair of Jackson freebies with 1:04 to play.
Rivier is back in action on Thursday visiting intrastate GNAC foe Colby-Sawyer at 5:30 p.m. USJ hosts Johnson & Wales in a GNAC matchup at 7:00 p.m.