STANDISH – Chad Pulkkinen drained 22 points to lead St. Joseph’s to a 76-67 victory over Curry as the Monks advanced to their first ECAC championship game in school history in men’s basketball action Saturday.

The Monks (22-7) never trailed in the contest, racing out to a commanding 41-22 halftime lead. Sophomore Elbie Murphy opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and added another trey and assisted on a basket by Pulkkinen for an early 6-2 lead.

Senior Stephen Prescod reeled off nine points, including a 3-pointer at 9:13 of the second half that sparked a 14-2 Curry run to bring the Colonials (16-14) within striking distance, 68-59, with 3:20 to play. But St. Joe’s held tough in the final minutes, matching point for point.

UMBC 70, Maine 61

BOSTON – Jay Greene scored a career-high 21 points and snapped a 61-61 tie with a 3-point play with 1:02 left to lift Maryland-Baltimore County to a 70-61 victory over Maine in American East quarterfinal action Saturday.

The win moved the No. 4 Retrievers (12-18) into the conference semifinals for the first time. They’ll face No. 1 Vermont, 81-62 winners over Hartford in Saturdays first game, in the opener of Sundays semifinal.

UMBC, which has won three of its last four games, lost twice to Vermont this season.

Greene, who had 16 points in the first half, scored in the lane and was fouled as he broke the 12th tie of the game. He made the free throw and UMBC put the game away with six more free throws in the final 42.5 seconds, the first four by Thomas Young.

Greene (7-for-9 from the field) also had six assists, three steals and three rebounds, leading four Retrievers in double figures – as UMBC won even though Brian Hodges, its only double-figure scorer coming in (15.1), was held to seven points.

Chris Pugh had 14 points, Young 13 and Mike Housman 11. Housman and Young both had seven rebounds.

No. 4 Maine ended at 12-18 after losing six of its last seven. Junior Bernal led five Black Bears in double figures with 15 points. He also had 10 rebounds and five assists.

Jon Sheets had 14 points, Kevin Reed 12 and Chris Bruff and Phil Tchekane-Bofia 10 apiece Bruff grabbing eight rebounds but committing six of his teams 14 turnovers. There were 17 lead changes in the game.

Men’s hockey

Middlebury 4, Colby 3

BRUNSWICK – Scott Bartlett scored two goals, including the game-winner late in the third period, to lift Middlebury College to a 4-3 win over Colby in semifinal action Saturday afternoon.

The Mules (14-9-2) took an early lead, as Arthur Fritch converted a feed at the blue line and skated in, taking a backhanded shot that deflected off a Middlebury defender’s stick and past goalie Doug Raeder.

The Panthers (16-7-3) answered quickly when Tom Maldonado beat a Colby defender against the boards and snapped a wrister that ricocheted off the crossbar and into the back of the net.

Middlebury made several bids to take the lead early in the final frame, but goalie Ben Grandjean made several strong saves for the Mules to keep the contest tied. The Panthers finally broke through with just 5:50 remaining, as Bartlett ripped a slap shot from the right-point, beating Grandjean for the final tally.

Bowdoin 6, Amherst 3

BRUNSWICK – Ryan Blossom gathered a loose puck and ripped a shot from the top of the circle for the eventual game-winner with just 2:24 remaining in the second period as Bowdoin tripped up Amherst, 6-3, to advance to the NESCAC Championship game for the third straight season.

The Polar Bears (16-6-3) earned the first power-play chance, and took advantage when Mike Corbelle put home a rebound off the pads of A.J. Scola to grab an early 1-0 lead.

Bowdoin increased their lead just 14 seconds into the second period, as Bryan Ciborowski controlled a loose puck in front of the Jeffs (14-10-1) net and knocked it home.

Amherst battled strong in the third frame, closing the gap to within one, 4-3, on a pair of goals. But following a penalty kill, Mike Westerman took control of a puck at center ice for the Polar Bears, skated in all alone on Scola, deked out the goalie and backhanded it into the net to seal the victory.


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