NEW LONDON, Conn. – John Jay College held off Mitchell College for an 82-73 victory in non-conference men's basketball action on Monday night at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Essien Epps led the Bloodhounds (7-13 overall) with a monster game of 30 points and 13 rebounds, including a 14-for-19 performance from the free throw line. Wyatt Harkins added 22 points on 7-for-12 shooting and went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Kiernan Hayes also finished in double figures with 13 points and grabbed eight boards.
Brayvon Young paced Mitchell (3-16 overall) with 17 points while Mack Bertram-Gregory chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. Alan Morgan recorded a double-double of 12 points and 13 assists to go with five rebounds and three steals, and Domenico Santiago contributed 11 points and nine boards.
After trailing for the first seven minutes of the contest, John Jay used a 9-0 run midway through the opening stanza to grab the lead. The Bloodhounds stayed on top of the Mariners for the remainder of the half and took a 39-34 lead into the break. Epps led all scorers with 13 points at intermission while Young supplied 11.
Mitchell played from behind for most of the second half, pulling in front only once on a layup by Morgan at the 15:41 mark. Epps put the Bloodhounds back on top less than a minute later with a fast-break basket, and the Mariners never held the lead again.
John Jay guarded the lead with clutch play from both Epps and Harkins. Over the final 10 minutes the Mariners made it a one-possession game at seven different points, and each time the Bloodhounds had an answer.
Mitchell made a final push with under 3:00 remaining and cut the deficit to three following a three-pointer from Geary McLeod and a free throw by Santiago. On John Jay's next possession, Epps fought his way into the paint for a tough floater to extend the margin to 74-69.
After a pair of freebies from Bertram-Gregory cut the John Jay lead back to three with 1:31 left, it was Harkins' turn to supply the response. He drove to the foul line and sunk an off-balance jumper to pad the lead.
Epps sealed the victory with the final six points of the contest—all from the line—to notch his second 30-point game of the season. His season-high 13 rebounds helped the Bloodhounds to a 41-38 advantage on the glass.
Mitchell will next host Regis College on Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. John Jay returns to action at home against the College of New Rochelle on Wednesday, February 1 at 7 p.m.