STANDISH, ME - Tyler Kelley '11 (Saco, ME) scored a team-high 16 points and Alberto Rue '10 (Jamaica Plain, MA) was 4-5 from three-point range and added 14 in an 83-64 Saint Joseph's (6-1, 3-0 GNAC) victory over Suffolk University (4-6, 0-2 GNAC) at the Harold Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams, a young team featuring three juniors, six sophomores, five freshmen and no seniors, were led offensively by freshman center Matt Pepdjonovic (Quincy, MA), who tallied a game-high 26 points on an 11-14 shooting performance and added 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots to his stat line in the losing effort. Luke Barrett '12 (Cincinnati, OH) scored 9 points and Sam Hutchins '12 (Andover, MA) dealt 7 assists for Suffolk.
The final score doesn't indicate that the first half was closely contested, as the Rams managed to maintain a single-digit deficit for much of the opening stanza. The Monks pulled away in the final minutes of the first period and held a comfortable advantage thereafter.
The Rams' only lead of the game occurred on their first possession, as Mario Massimino '11 (East Haven, CT) made a layup on his team's opening drive. The Monks displayed some of their offensive firepower in the next four minutes, as the Royal Blue notched a 14-2 run, which included three-pointers from Kelley and Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, NY).
Trailing 28-17 with 9:48 left in the opening half, Suffolk gave St. Joe's a taste of its own medicine with a 9-0 outburst to cut the deficit to two points. Pepdjonovic started the rally with a traditional three-point play and Barrett capped the stretch with treys on back-to-back Ram possessions to make the score 28-26 with 7:27 before the break.
The Monks pushed their lead back to double digits in the following two minutes, however, as Chris Petzy '12 (Kensington, NH) scored five points, including a catch-and-release three off an O'Brien pass, and Rashon Jones '11 (Bridgeport, CT) drilled a long ball of his own to put the hosts up 38-28 with 5:29 remaining in the first period.
Four minutes later, the scoreboard showed that Suffolk had cut the SJC lead to five points, 40-35, after Mike Gibbons '12 (Ringwood, NJ), the leading three-point shooter in the GNAC, sank a shot from beyond the arc. The Monks answered with an 8-0 run to close out the half, as Tom Ray '12 (Cape Elizabeth, ME) hit a jumper, Ray Eatmon '10 (Huntington, NY) converted a three-point play and Rue, after stalling for the final shot, dropped a three-pointer to provide St. Joe's with a 48-35 lead heading into the locker room.
The Monks went on to lead by double-digits for the vast majority of the second stanza and held a game-high 20-point cushion after Rue connected on a three at the 9:39 mark.
St. Joe's featured a balanced offensive front, as seven SJC players tallied 8 or more points in the victory. Eatmon, 6-7 from the FT line, netted 12 points, 6 caroms, 4 assists and 2 blocks, while Petzy and Anthony Savino '11 (Portland, ME/Cheverus) both chipped in with 9 points for the Monks. Jones added 8 points, 4 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals and Ray scored a career-best 8 points with a pair of steals in the triumph.
Craig Merrick '13 (Mashantucket, CT) made a pair of free throws late in the first half to notch his first collegiate points and Jack LaFreniere '13 (Alton, NH) made his SJC basketball debut in the closing minutes of the conference contest.
St. Joe's shot 54.7% (29-53) from the field, 52.6% (10-19) from beyond the arc, and 93.8% (15-16) from the FT line, while Suffolk shot 46.4% (26-56) overall, 33.3% (5-15) from three-point distance and 63.6% (7-11) from the charity stripe.
For the Monks, all three shooting percentages rank as season highs and the free throw mark ties the program record for single-game success. The 93.8% conversion rate was originally set in a 63-62 win over Bryant University on January 13th, 1986.
St. Joe's has converted better than 50% of its shots from the field in three straight games and four overall so far this season. The Monks have posted at least a 45% mark in all seven contests. Also, St. Joe's recorded a season-high 23 assists, on 29 buckets, in the triumph.
The contest wraps up the 2009 portion of the schedule for both teams, as Saint Joseph's will host Farmingdale State (NY) on Saturday, January 2nd at 3:00 PM and Suffolk will host Lasell on Saturday, January 9th at 2:00 PM.
Newspaper Box Score
Suffolk vs St. Joseph's (Me.)
12/12/09 3:00pm at Harold Alfond Center, Standish, ME
At Harold Alfond Center, Standish, ME
ST. JOSEPH'S (ME.) 83, SUFFOLK 64
Matt Pepdjonovic 11-14 4-7 26; Luke Barrett 3-7 0-0 9; Allan Ray 3-6 1-2 7;
Sam Hutchins 2-6 2-2 6; Mike Gibbons 2-9 0-0 6; Karl Busch 2-6 0-0 4; Andres
Aldrete 1-2 0-0 2; Mario Massimino 1-2 0-0 2; Mickey McEntee 1-1 0-0 2;
Brooks Flanagan 0-1 0-0 0; Dan Williams 0-0 0-0 0; Justin Barrall 0-0 0-0 0;
Mike Fleming 0-2 0-0 0; Jevic Muteba 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-56 7-11 64.
ST. JOSEPH'S (ME.) (6-1)
Tyler Kelley 6-9 2-2 16; Alberto Rue 4-7 2-2 14; Ray Eatmon 3-6 6-7 12;
Anthony Savino 3-5 3-3 9; Chris Petzy 4-5 0-0 9; Rashon Jones 3-7 0-0 8; Tom
Ray 4-5 0-0 8; Zach O'Brien 2-6 0-0 5; Craig Merrick 0-3 2-2 2; Jack
LaFreniere 0-0 0-0 0; Julio Vazquez 0-0 0-0 0; Spenser Adams 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 29-53 15-16 83.
Suffolk....................... 35 29 - 64
St. Joseph's (Me.)............ 48 35 - 83
3-point goals--Suffolk 5-15 (Luke Barrett 3-4; Mike Gibbons 2-8; Sam
Hutchins 0-1; Mike Fleming 0-1; Allan Ray 0-1), St. Joseph's (Me.) 10-19
(Alberto Rue 4-5; Rashon Jones 2-2; Tyler Kelley 2-4; Zach O'Brien 1-2;
Chris Petzy 1-2; Craig Merrick 0-3; Ray Eatmon 0-1). Fouled
out--Suffolk-None, St. Joseph's (Me.)-None. Rebounds--Suffolk 28 (Matt
Pepdjonovic 9), St. Joseph's (Me.) 27 (Ray Eatmon 6). Assists--Suffolk 15
(Sam Hutchins 7), St. Joseph's (Me.) 23 (Zach O'Brien 6). Total
fouls--Suffolk 15, St. Joseph's (Me.) 14. Technical fouls--Suffolk-None, St.
Joseph's (Me.)-None. A-240