WRITTEN BY DAVID MENZE

Freshman forward Jalen Cannon helped St. Francis clinch a quarterfinal hosting bid in the Northeast Conference tournament by pulling down an NEC single-game high 19 rebounds in Thursday’s 64-56 victory over Quinnipiac.

Jalen Cannon scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds in Thursday’s victory over Quinnipiac

St. Francis improved to 14-12 overall (11-4 NEC) and will either be the #3 or the # 4 seed when the tournment tips-off Thursday, March 1.

The Terriers are currently tied with Robert Morris for third place in the NEC standings but own the tiebreaker and the #3 seed over Robert Morris after St. Francis swept them 2-0 in the regular-season series.

Cannon powered the Terriers over Quinnipiac and led St. Francis in both rebounding and scoring with 13 points as he posted his seventh double-double this season.

Sophomore point guard Brent Jones scored 11 points and had 5 assists with 4 steals as teammates Travis Nichols and Akeem Johnson chipped in with 10 points apiece.

With the loss, Quinnipiac drops to 15-11 overall (8-7 NEC) and had their season-high four-game winning streak snapped.

Garvey Young tallied 14 points for Quinnipiac while Ike Azotam recorded a double-double with 12 points and 15 boards.

The Terriers struggled in the game as they shot just 36.1 percent overall (22-of-61) and only 20 percent from behind the arc (4-of-20) however, their team defensive was stellar as they forced Quinnipiac into 20 turnovers and limited them to 37.3 percent shooting (19-of-51) overall. SFC never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 12 points in the second-half.

The Terriers led 30-26 at halftime and extended their lead to 41-29 at the 15:26 mark as they started the final half on a 11-3 run.

St. Francis led 46-34 with 12:06 in regulation after senior guard Justin Newton hit a three-pointer but Quinnipiac responded and went on an 8-2 run capped off by Dave Johnson’s three-point make to cut the lead 48-42 with 9:13 left to play.

The Terriers eventually pushed their lead back to double-double, 58-48, with just 3:41 on the clock following a layup by Jones. Quinnipiac refused to quit however, as they were able to shrink the deficit to 58-55 after rattling off seven straight points with just 1:41 remaining.

James Johnson had a chance to cut the lead to just one point but missed a jump-shot as Cannon hauled in his 18 rebound of the game for the Terriers and was then fouled. The freshman forward made one-of-two foul-shots to give SFC a 59-55 advantage with 1:02 remaining.

After Quinnipiac missed a three-pointer and turned the ball over to St. Francis, who led 62-55 with just 40 seconds left, Jones converted three-of-four free-throw attempts and sealed the victory for the Terriers.

St. Francis will host Sacred Heart on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The match-up is the final home game of the regular-season for the Terriers and will be televised live on MSG.

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