BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins men's basketball team opened 2013 with a 71-55 point win over visiting Eastern in the second game of the 22nd annual Blue Jay Invitational at Goldfarb Gym. The Blue Jays led wire-to-wire in the 16-point win as they snapped a two-game skid to improve to 6-5 on the season. The Eagles slip to 2-10 as they drop their third in a row.
Hopkins opened the game with a 10-0 run, fueled by back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore Jimmy Hammer, as JHU held Eastern scoreless for nearly eight minutes. Malcolm Garrison finally got the Eagles on the board with a bucket from downtown at 12:19. Junior Aleksandar Nikolic answered with a layup to make it a 12-3 game before Eastern put together a 7-2 spurt to make it a four-point game with 9:47 to play in the half.
A pair of free throws from sophomore Omar Randall and a Nikolic layup pushed the lead quickly back to eight. But that's the biggest lead the Blue Jays could take over the ensuing six minutes as the Eagles answered each Blue Jay bucket with one of their own. Tyler Stowers hit a jumper at the 4:43 mark to make it a 26-21 game, but back-to-back buckets from sophomore Connor McIntyre made it a nine-point game less than two minutes later. Anthony Bertolino answered with a bucket in the paint, but senior Adam Spengler had the final say of the half with a layup to stake Hopkins to a 32-23 lead at the half.
Junior George Bugarinvoic opened the second-half scoring with a fast-break layup but Eastern got two quick buckets to make it a seven-point game. The teams traded buckets over the next two possessions before Hopkins got seven unanswered points to push out to a 14-point advantage with 13:45 to play. Once again Eastern came right back, chipping the deficit back to nine, as the lead continued to see-saw up and down.
The Blue Jays finally put some distance between themselves and the Eagles with a 14-2 run that saw the Blue Jays lead blossom to 20 points with just 4:49 to play. Five different players scored for JHU during the run that spanned nearly five minutes. That put the game away for Hopkins as Eastern could get no closer than 14 over the remainder of the game.
Nikolic paced the Blue Jays with 14 points and four assists, while also blocking one shot. McIntyre was just two boards shy of a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds. He also tied his career-high with four blocked shots and dished out three helpers. Anthony Parenti led all scorers with 15 points for the Eagles and was their only player in double figures.
Hopkins advances to the Blue Jay Invitational Championship game, where they will face the Marymount Saints. Marymount defeated Susquehanna, 68-58, in the first game of the day. Eastern and Susquehanna will meet in the consolation game with tip-off set for 5:00 pm on Thursday, January 3. The championship game is set to tip at 7:00 pm.