Last Tuesday in Clinton Hill the Pratt Institute men’s basketball team played their 19th game against their most local of rivals, St. Joseph’s College, New York. While the game featured individual highlights from Pratt freshman phenom Ari Grant, the final result was the same as in the 18 previous contests between the two teams: a dominating win by St. Joe’s, this time by a score of 81-38.
Playing in Pratt’s Activities Resource Center—better known as “The ARC”—St. Joseph’s settled in immediately to the arena’s cavernous surroundings. The Bears open up the game with a 20-0 run before the Cannoneers recorded their first bucket.
Things only got worse as Pratt ended up down 45-16 at the half. St. Joe’s connected on three-pointers almost at will, as guard Ian Duff hit four straight trifectas in the first half while reserve forward Thomas Karasinski connected on 6 of 11 threeballs on his way to a game-high 18 points. For the game, the Bears hit on 14 of their 32 three-point attempts, as Pratt simply could not stop St. Joseph’s passing or shooting.
The game’s only contest of interest was the individual match up between Grant, a 6-5 rail-thin forward who has collected three Hudson Valley Men’s Athletic Conference (HVMAC) Rookie of the Week awards, and St. Joseph freshman forward Michael Megafu, also a three-time recipient of Rookie of the Week honors.
Even though his team got trounced, Grant got the better of Megafu, scoring 20 points and snaring 10 rebounds to burnish his credentials as the leading candidate for HVMAC Rookie of the Year. Grant—a walk-on architecture student from Colorado—was the solitary bright spot for the Cannoneers, combining smooth drives to the hoop with an accurate outside shot.
St. Joseph’s, locked in as the #2 seed in the 2013 HVMAC Basketball Tournament, will play a semifinal match this Saturday against #3 Albany Pharmacy (13-7; 4-2 HVMAC) at the College of New Rochelle. The Bears (15-10; 5-1 HVMAC) hope to capture their second HVMAC title in the last three years
With a 4-9 record overall—1-5 in conference play—2013 was a season to build on for Pratt basketball, as the efforts of first-year players Grant and Nik Lensander suggest better times are ahead for the Cannoneers.
Julius Allen, in his first year as Pratt's head coach, was gratified by his team ability to play competitive basketball despite the school’s daunting academic environment. “My kids were not recruited here to play basketball,” said Allen. “They came here for academics but they enjoy playing and we’re having a good experience.”
In a nod to the recent success of Pratt’s local rival, Allen added, “I think the St. Joseph’s guys are doing a fabulous job building a competitive basketball program. I am hoping I can turn Pratt into that type of program.”
An HVMAC Rookie of the Year trophy for Ari Grant would be a great step in the right direction.