STANDISH, ME - Saint Joseph's (1-0) erased an eight-point halftime deficit by outscoring University of New England (0-1), 45-29, in the second stanza en route to a 71-63 victory in a battle between a pair of 2009 NCAA-qualifiers at the Harold Alfond Center on Sunday afternoon. Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, NY) led a trio of Monks with double-digit point totals with a game-high 16 points in the triumph.
Victor Oruonyehu '12 (Austin, TX) paced the Nor'easters, who also had three players with more than 10 points, with 14 points and a 4-7 effort from beyond the arc.
UNE staked its first-half lead almost entirely with three-pointers. The Nor'easters made 10 treys - and just a pair of two-pointers - in the opening frame. In fact, the visitors' first 27 points were off three-pointers and the first two-point bucket by UNE came with two minutes left in the half. Unfortunately for UNE, their hot-shooting from three-point range ended with the first half, as the Nor'easters made just 18.8% (3-16) of their long-distance shots in the second frame.
Although UNE led for the entire first half, the Monks maintained a safe distance by cleaning up on the glass, as St. Joe's held a 22-14 advantage overall on the boards and grabbed 18 defensive caroms. As a result, the Nor'easters managed just two second-chance points in the first half. Ray Eatmon '10 (Huntington, NY) and O'Brien led the rebounding effort with seven and five boards, respectively, in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Monks came out of the locker room on a tear and scored eight unanswered points to tie the game at 34 apiece with 17:43 to go. Tyler Kelley '11 (Saco, ME) drained a three-pointer on the first SJC possession and point guard Rashon Jones '11 (Bridgeport, CT), who stirred the crowd with an electrifying dunk early in the first frame, hit a jumper and a three during the surge.
The lead changed hands three times in the following minute of play, with the final switch belonging to the Monks after Anthony Savino '11 (Portland, ME/Cheverus) knocked down a pair of freebies to put the hosts up, 38-37, with 16:54 remaining. Savino's freebies ignited a 9-0 run for the Monks, who would not trail for the rest of the contest.
The Royal Blue faithful could not breathe easy, however, as the Nor'easters proved in the first half how dangerous their shooters could be. To prove the point, Oruonyehu made three-pointers on back to back UNE possessions to cut the SJC lead to one point (60-59) with 2:52 to play, but O'Brien sealed the victory for the Monks by scoring 10 points with a 6-6 free throw effort in the waning minutes to squelch the visitors' hopes.
UNE shot 34.3% (23-67) from the floor, 33.3% (13-39) from beyond the arc, and 28.6% (4-14) from the line in the loss.
St. Joe's made 54.5% (24-44) from the field, 33.3% (3-9) from three-point distance, and 69.0% (20-29) from the charity stripe in the victory. The Monks have now defeated the Nor'easters 38 consecutive times dating back to the 1990 season.
Key for the Monks was the play of Jones at the point position. The talented junior tallied 15 points, 8 caroms, 3 assists and 3 blocks and shot 6-8 from the field as the SJC court leader.
Kelley also played well and netted 13 points with a 6-10 shooting effort. Eatmon grabbed a game-high 13 boards and added 8 points with 3 assists and a pair of blocks and Alberto Rue '10 (Jamaica Plain, MA) added 9 points on a 3-4 shooting effort.
Julio Vazquez '13 (Waterbury, CT) scored two points with a steal and a rebound and Craig Merrick '13 (Mashantucket, CT) collected a steal in the season opener. Both players were making their collegiate debut for the Monks.
For the Nor'easters, Marchale Robinson '10 (Baton Rouge, LA) had 13 points, Anthony Johnson '12 (Austin, TX) tallied 10 points and 6 caroms and Quentin Thompson '12 (Austin, TX) chipped in with 7 boards in the losing effort.
Saint Joseph's will play at University of Maine-Farmington on Monday, November 23rd at 7:00 PM. University of New England will host University of Southern Maine on Tuesday, November 17th at 8:00 PM.
Newspaper Box Score
Univ. of New England vs St. Joseph's (Me.)
11/14/09 3:00 PM at Alfond Center, Standish, ME
At Alfond Center, Standish, ME
ST. JOSEPH'S (ME.) 71, UNIV. OF NEW ENGLAND 63
UNIV. OF NEW ENGLAND (0-1)
Victor Oruonyehu 4-9 2-2 14; Marchale Robinson 5-9 0-0 13; Anthony Johnson
4-12 1-5 10; J.D. Winn 4-8 0-0 9; Marcus Winn 3-6 0-0 8; Kadare Brown 1-7
0-3 3; Quentin Thompson 1-5 1-2 3; Franco Foti 1-4 0-0 3; Ryan Knotek 0-1
0-0 0; J.J. Roseman 0-6 0-2 0; Travis Guerrette 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-67 4-14
ST. JOSEPH'S (ME.) (1-0)
Zach O'Brien 3-10 10-12 16; Rashon Jones 6-8 2-2 15; Tyler Kelley 6-10 0-0
13; Alberto Rue 3-4 3-6 9; Raymond Eatmon 3-5 2-5 8; Anthony Savino 1-2 3-4
5; Christopher Petzy 1-4 0-0 3; Julio Vazquez 1-1 0-0 2; Craig Merrick 0-0
0-0 0. Totals 24-44 20-29 71.
Univ. of New England.......... 34 29 - 63
St. Joseph's (Me.)............ 26 45 - 71
3-point goals--Univ. of New England 13-39 (Victor Oruonyehu 4-7; Marchale
Robinson 3-6; Marcus Winn 2-5; Anthony Johnson 1-5; Kadare Brown 1-5; J.D.
Winn 1-2; Franco Foti 1-3; Ryan Knotek 0-1; J.J. Roseman 0-2; Quentin
Thompson 0-3), St. Joseph's (Me.) 3-9 (Tyler Kelley 1-3; Rashon Jones 1-1;
Christopher Petzy 1-3; Alberto Rue 0-1; Zach O'Brien 0-1). Fouled out--Univ.
of New England-None, St. Joseph's (Me.)-None. Rebounds--Univ. of New England
35 (Quentin Thompson 7), St. Joseph's (Me.) 40 (Raymond Eatmon 13).
Assists--Univ. of New England 11 (Quentin Thompson 3; J.J. Roseman 3), St.
Joseph's (Me.) 15 (Rashon Jones 3; Tyler Kelley 3; Raymond Eatmon 3). Total
fouls--Univ. of New England 23, St. Joseph's (Me.) 10. Technical
fouls--Univ. of New England-J.D. Winn, St. Joseph's (Me.)-None. A-300