The Knights pulled out to an early and commanding lead before St. Joseph's staged a late rally in the 2012 Hudson Valley Men's Athletic Conference championship game, cutting a 20 point deficit against Berkeley to four, but their comeback upset bid against the top-seeded Knights fell short, dropping a 91-84 decision on Sunday afternoon at the Albert M. White Gymnasium in Albany.
It marks the fifth time that Berkeley has defeated St. Joseph's in the HVMAC title game. The Bears have advanced to seven straight championship games and were victorious in 2008 over Berkeley and 2010 over Vaughn.
Berkeley (16-8) had all five starters finish in double figures led by Mario Guzman and Jose Stable who had 21 points each. Elijah Craig recorded a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds and was named Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Berkeley broke open a 6-6 tie with a 13-3 run over five minutes, building a double-digit advantage. The Knights led by as many as 13 in the first half on three separate instances, before the Bears gained some momentum before the break, trimming the advantage to seven before heading into the intermission down 40-31.
Berkeley would maintain their nine point halftime edge and then go on an 11-0 run to balloon the lead to 20, 59-39. Berkeley still led by 20 as late as the 13:29 mark, before the Bears began to chip away at the deficit. St. Joe's would cut the deficit to four, 79-75, with two minutes left, but the Knights would hold off the Bears from the free throw line, going 9-for-11 in the final minute to clinch their fifth title.
Berkeley would finish the game shooting 51 percent (30-of-59) from the field. The Knights finish the season with a home game against Southern Virginia University on Saturday at 2 P.M. at the Borough of Manhattan CC before waiting to learn if they will receive a bid to the USCAA National Championship Tournament for the second straight year.