BOSTON, Mass. - UMass Boston men's basketball (3-1) overcame a 13-point first-half deficit to help head coach Charlie Titus earn win number 300 at the varsity level Friday afternoon, with a 84-68 win over the St. Joseph College in Vermont (3-3) at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium as part of the 29th Annual Harbor Invitational.
With the victory the Beacons advance to championship game for the second straight year and will play at 3 p.m. tomorrow. St. Joseph will play in the consolation game scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Titus' 300th victory put him in special company, as he became the 71st Division III men's basketball coach to reach the 300-win milestone.
Titus has been the Beacons' head coach ever since the program was still at the club level in the mid-1970s, in addition to holding numerous roles within the UMass Boston Athletics department, including his current role as the Vice Chancellor of Athletics & Recreations, Special Projects and Programs.
Senior BJ Rosary III (Fontana, Calif.) led four Beacons in double-digits with a team-high 16 points to help UMass Boston earn a spot in the Harbor Invitational Championship Game. The Beacons will take on Wesleyan University Saturday at 3 p.m., with UMass Boston looking to earn their second straight Harbor Invitational Title.
Jerard Mayes (Boston, Mass.) and Omar Benabicha (Saugus, Mass.) each finished with 15 points for UMass Boston, while Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) added 11 points, three rebounds and a team-high four blocks.
UMass Boston used a total team-effort to overcome the Fighting Saints, with every player on the roster seeing time and 12 players seeing pivotal minutes when the game was still in doubt.
Rrahiem Smalls led the College of Saint Joseph with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Fighting Saints jumped all over the Beacons at the start, scoring the first five points of the game, before stretching the lead out to as many as 13 (21-8) at the 11:57 mark of the half.
But UMass Boston slowly chipped away at the deficit, behind eight first half points from Ryan LaPaglia (Marshfield, Mass.). The Beacons used a 10-0 run to tie the game at 30-30 with 4:32 to go in the half and took their first lead of the game at 35-34, when Rosary knocked down one of the team's 11 made 3-pointers.
After stretching the lead to 39-35 at the break, UMass Boston quickly extended their advantage out of halftime, pushing the lead to double-digits behind a 14-8 run.
The Fighting Saints cut the deficit to six, moments later, but that would be as close as they would come, as the Beacons relentless defense and strong shooting performance helped them cruise to a victory.
Senior Kadeem Coulter (Boston, Mass.) finished with two points and three assists on the day in his first appearance of the season, while junior transfer Steven McGuire (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) recorded his first points as a Beacon, with a three-pointer from well beyond the ac.
UMass Boston knocked down 50 percent (30-for-60) of their field game attempts, and 45.8 percent (11-for-24) of their attempts from beyond the arc.
The Beacons return to action tomorrow afternoon when they face Wesleyan University (Conn.) in the championship game of the 29th Annual Harbor Invitational. St. Joseph will face Emerson College at 1 p.m.