BOSTON, MA - Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, NY) led three Monks in double-digits with a game-high 19 points to help Saint Joseph's (4-1, 1-0 GNAC) defeat Emerson College (2-4, 0-1 GNAC), 75-66, on Saturday afternoon in the 2009-10 GNAC opener for both teams.
Tyler Kelley '11 (Saco, ME) netted 18 points and Rashon Jones '11 (Bridgeport, CT) tallied 17 points, with 7 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals, to round out the SJC top scorers.
Nathan Firn '12 (Wadesboro, NC) paced the Lions with 16 points, while Tommy Messinger '11 (Florence, MA) scored 15 and Bryan Rouse '10 (East Greenwich, RI) added 12 in the losing effort for Emerson.
The Monks held the lead for the majority of the game, but the Lions held the deficit to a manageable number for all but a few minutes early in the second stanza when St. Joe's built a game-high 13 point lead after a 7-0 surge. In the end, free throws proved to be the difference, as St. Joe's connected on 19 freebies - including an 11-13 effort in the closing minutes - to just 8 free throws made by the hosts.
Prior to this afternoon's game, Emerson was the only conference team Saint Joseph's had not defeated. The Lions had topped the Monks in all four of the previous meetings featurning the GNAC rivals.
St. Joe's, paced by five points from Jones, came out of the gate hot and outscored Emerson, 10-2, in the first four minutes of play. Messinger made three trifectas in the subsequent three minutes, however, with his final long ball of the stretch tying the game at 13 apiece with 12:21 to go in the first half.
The Monks led by no more than four points for the next five minutes, and Emerson's Kabir Moss '11 (Chico, CA) knotted the game at 19 with 6:51 left in the half. Kelley drilled three-pointers on the next two SJC possessions and the Monks managed to take a 37-31 lead into intermission after topping the Lions, 18-12, for the remainder of the opening period.
The previously mentioned Monks' surge occurred at the onset of the second stanza. On consecutive SJC trips down the floor, Jones flipped in a layup and slammed home a dunk after grabbing a steal. Kelley capped the outburst with a full-court drive after collecting a defensive board to put the Royal Blue up by a game-high 13 points, 44-31, with 16:37 to go.
Emerson wasn't about to go down easily, however. With the score 46-33, St. Joe's, and 16:01 remaining, the Lions began a 25-6 run that ended with a pair of three-pointers from Firn and the hosts ahead, 56-50, with 8:09 left. The Lions shot 9-12 from the floor during the eight-minute stretch. The Monks were 2-8 with 5 turnovers during the same spell.
The Monks, who shot over 50% in both halves, regained the lead just over four minutes later. O'Brien converted a traditional three-point play to provide St. Joe's with a 61-59 lead at the 4:49 mark, but Rouse countered the play on the next Emerson possession with a layup. Jones put the Monks up for good with a layup of his own at the 4:23 mark and St. Joe's, with the help of a 9-13 effort from the FT line, outscored Emerson by a 14-5 margin in the closing minutes to earn a 75-66 victory.
St. Joe's shot 51% (26-51) from the field, 40% (4-10) from three-point range and 73.1% (19-26) from the FT line, while Emerson shot 40% (24-60) from the floor, 43.5% (10-23) from beyond the arc and 72.7% (8-11) from the charity stripe. The Monks held a slight 34-30 advantage on the glass in the win.
Ray Eatmon '10 (Huntington, NY) hauled in a game-high 10 caroms in the SJC victory.
Both teams are slated to face off against conference foes in their next outings. Saint Joseph's will play at Johnson & Wales University on Wednesday at 7:00 PM, while Emerson will travel to Mount Ida College on Tuesday for a 7:00 PM tip-off.
Newspaper Box Score
St. Joseph's (Me.) vs Emerson
12/05/09 12 PM at Brown and Plofker Gym
At Brown and Plofker Gym
ST. JOSEPH'S (ME.) 75, EMERSON 66
ST. JOSEPH'S (ME.) (4-1, 1-0 GNAC)
Zach O'Brien 6-12 7-9 19; Tyler Kelley 7-12 1-4 18; Rashon Jones 7-9 3-3 17;
Chris Petzy 2-6 2-2 6; Ray Eatmon 2-6 2-2 6; Alberto Rue 1-3 2-4 5; Tom Ray
0-0 2-2 2; Anthony Savino 1-3 0-0 2; Julio Vazquez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-51
EMERSON (2-4, 0-1 GNAC)
Nathan Firn 6-16 2-2 16; Tommy Messinger 5-5 0-0 15; Bryan Rouse 5-9 2-4 12;
Kabir Moss 3-8 2-2 9; Tim McGhee 2-3 0-1 5; Chris Briody 2-2 0-0 4; Dan
Boylan 1-2 0-0 3; Drew Venter 0-4 2-2 2; Alex Dempsey 0-8 0-0 0; Carlos
Negrete 0-3 0-0 0; Malcolm Stanley 0-0 0-0 0; Bilali Mack 0-0 0-0 0. Totals
24-60 8-11 66.
St. Joseph's (Me.)............ 37 38 - 75
Emerson....................... 31 35 - 66
3-point goals--St. Joseph's (Me.) 4-10 (Tyler Kelley 3-5; Alberto Rue 1-2;
Chris Petzy 0-2; Anthony Savino 0-1), Emerson 10-23 (Tommy Messinger 5-5;
Nathan Firn 2-3; Tim McGhee 1-2; Kabir Moss 1-3; Dan Boylan 1-2; Alex
Dempsey 0-2; Carlos Negrete 0-3; Drew Venter 0-3). Fouled out--St. Joseph's
(Me.)-None, Emerson-Tommy Messinger. Rebounds--St. Joseph's (Me.) 34 (Ray
Eatmon 10), Emerson 30 (Drew Venter 7; Kabir Moss 7). Assists--St. Joseph's
(Me.) 10 (Zach O'Brien 4), Emerson 18 (Drew Venter 8). Total fouls--St.
Joseph's (Me.) 16, Emerson 22. Technical fouls--St. Joseph's (Me.)-None,