Lasers Stun Monks in Quarterfinal, 75-70

Lasers Stun Monks in Quarterfinal, 75-70

STANDISH, ME - Sixth-seeded Lasell College (11-15, 8-10 GNAC) upset #3 Saint Joseph's College (19-7, 14-4 GNAC), 75-70, in a GNAC Men's Basketball Quarterfinal on Tuesday night at the Harold Alfond Center. Rashon Jones '11 (Bridgeport, CT) and Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, NY) paced the Monks with 13 points apiece in the season-ending loss.

Lasers guard Justin Harris '13 (New Orleans, LA), who entered the game averaging just 8.0 PPG, netted a game-high 21 points and added 7 rebounds and 6 assists for Lasell, who gained the lead just over 10 minutes into the first half and never relinquished it.

The Monks' early exit brings an abrupt ending to the team's quest for attaining back to back GNAC Championships and the illustrious careers of seniors, and 2010 co-captains, Ray Eatmon (Huntington, NY/Walt Whitman) and Alberto Rue (Jamaica Plain, MA/Loomis Chaffee). Both players were key components for teams that captured NCAA DIII Northeast Independent and GNAC Championships and an appearance in the ECAC DIII Championship contest and helped the Monks post a 76-36 (.679) record during their careers. The duo will be missed for their contributions, on and off the court.

St. Joe's trailed 42-31 at the half, but rallied with a 13-4 run to start the second stanza and trailed by two points, 46-44, with 15:40 remaining. The Monks came up with some big plays at key moments but, despite maintaining a two-possession deficit for the duration, were unable to grab the lead or a share of it from the Lasers, who answered every SJC clutch play with one of their own en route to an upset win. Lasell will take on the #2 Emerson, who defeated #7 Norwich in another conference quarterfinal tonight, game on Thursday evening.

Neither team got off to a good start, as the squads combined for a 5-17 (29.4%) effort from the floor with five turnovers in the first 4:35 of play. Trailing 8-6 after Harris made a layup at the 15:06 mark, the Monks produced an 8-2 run, with four points from Julio Vazquez '13 (Waterbury, CT), who slashed the lane for a pair of buckets, over the subsequent three and half minutes to take a 14-10 lead.

The advantage was short-lived, however, as the Lasers proceeded to score five unanswered points and held a 15-14 edge with 10:05 left in the first half. Anthony Savino '11 (Portland, ME/Cheverus) grabbed an offensive carom for a putback on the next SJC possession to help the Monks regain the lead, but the visitors tallied six unanswered points and led 21-16 after Harris scored a layup at the 8:51 mark.

Tyler Kelley '11 (Saco, ME) drained a three-pointer a minute later to provide the Royal Blue faithful with some hope and cut the Monks' deficit to 21-19. The Lasers responded with treys from Charles Horton '10 (Detroit, MI) and Harris, as the longballs sandwiched a Jones layup and put Lasell back up by a 27-21 tally with 6:27 before the break.

Lasell closed out the half by outscoring the Monks by a 10-5 margin over the final four minutes of play and led 42-31 heading into the intermission. Chris Petzy '12 (Kensington, NH) drained a three-pointer with two seconds on the clock to end a two-minute scoring drought for the hosts.

Harris led all scorers with 15 first-half points, while Kelley and Petzy scored 7 apiece to lead the Monks, who shot 37.8% from the floor and 22.2% from three-point distance in the opening period. The Lasers posted a 51.4% effort from the field and a herculean 62.5% performance from beyond the arc. The teams combined for just five free throw attempts, and two FT's made, and only four personal fouls were called in the first half.

The beginning of the second stanza offered a glimmer of hope for the 352 fans in attendance, as the aforementioned 13-4 run, which was capped by a pair of O'Brien freebies at the 15:40 mark, cut the Laser lead to 46-44. O'Brien netted six and Rue scored five during the SJC surge.

The teams basically traded punches for much of the second half, as the Monks came dangerously close to regaining the lead on several occasions, only to witness the Lasers come through with pressure plays in a hostile environment. Dominik Orlow '12 (Slupsk, Poland) came up with a pair of huge three-pointers for the visitors to take the wind out of the Monks' sails over the final eight minutes.

Vazquez made a free throw and Savino and Kelley both made buckets to sum up a 5-0 SJC microburst and narrow the Lasell lead to just two points, 55-53, with 8:22 to play. Orlow netted his first trey 32 seconds later to give his team a five-point cushion.

With 1:30 left, Rue was fouled and connected on both FT attempts to make it a 68-65 contest. Saint Joseph's played smothering defense on the following Lasell possession, but Orlow found a small opening on the baseline and drained his second three of the game with the shot clock near expiration to put his team up by six with 58 seconds to go.

Saint Joseph's responded with an O'Brien layup to cut the lead to 71-67 with 44 seconds left and a turnover on the following inbounds play by Horton would provide St. Joe's with an opportunity to make the deficit smaller, but the Lasers defense came up big and forced an SJC turnover to maintain the advantage.

Williams was fouled and converted both FT bids to lift the Lasers to a 73-67 lead with 23 seconds left, but an O'Brien trey with five ticks on the clock made it a three-point game. All hope of a Saint Joseph's comeback victory was lost when Lasell guard Lance Theard '13 (New Orleans, LA) connected on both freebie attempts with three seconds remaining to give the Lasers a 75-70 cushion.

For St. Joe's, Rue, Kelley and Petzy all netted 9 points and Eatmon tallied 6 points, 6 boards, 6 assists and 4 steals.

For Lasell, Orlow netted 16, Williams added 14 points and 9 boards and Horton posted 12 points off a 4-6 effort from three-point range.

St. Joe's shot 42.6% (29-68) overall, 25% (5-20) from three-point distance, and 70% (7-10) from the line, while Lasell shot 49.2% (30-61) from the field, 60% (9-15) from beyond the arc and 75% (6-8) from the FT line. The Lasers held a slim 34-33 advantage on the glass and both teams collected 15 offensive caroms in the playoff contest. The Monks forced 19 Lasell miscues and grabbed 13 steals in the loss.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak at home for the Monks, who played to an 11-3 record at the Alfond Center this season. For St. Joe's, the steals total ranks as a season-high and the 60% mark from three-point range by Lasell was the best by an SJC opponent this season.

Newspaper Box Score
Lasell College vs St. Joseph's (Me.)
02/23/10 7:15 PM at Alfond Center, Standish, Maine
At Alfond Center, Standish, Maine
Justin Harris 10-16 0-0 21; Dominik Orlow 7-11 0-0 16; Javon Williams 5-11
4-5 14; Charles Horton 4-7 0-0 12; Lance Theard 1-4 2-2 5; Sean Joynes 2-8
0-1 4; Brett Heimann 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 30-61 6-8 75.
ST. JOSEPH'S (ME.) (19-7)
Zach O'Brien 5-13 2-2 13; Rashon Jones 6-9 0-0 13; Tyler Kelley 4-16 0-0 9;
Chris Petzy 4-9 0-0 9; Alberto Rue 2-10 4-6 9; Ray Eatmon 3-4 0-0 6; Anthony
Savino 3-4 0-0 6; Julio Vazquez 2-3 1-2 5; Tom Ray 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-68
7-10 70.
Lasell College................   42   33  -   75
St. Joseph's (Me.)............   31   39  -   70
3-point goals--Lasell College 9-15 (Charles Horton 4-6; Dominik Orlow 2-2;
Justin Harris 1-4; Lance Theard 1-1; Brett Heimann 1-2), St. Joseph's (Me.)
5-20 (Tyler Kelley 1-7; Rashon Jones 1-2; Alberto Rue 1-5; Chris Petzy 1-5;
Zach O'Brien 1-1). Fouled out--Lasell College-None, St. Joseph's (Me.)-None.
Rebounds--Lasell College 34 (Javon Williams 9), St. Joseph's (Me.) 33
(Rashon Jones 7). Assists--Lasell College 13 (Justin Harris 6), St. Joseph's
(Me.) 19 (Ray Eatmon 6). Total fouls--Lasell College 7, St. Joseph's (Me.)
11. Technical fouls--Lasell College-None, St. Joseph's (Me.)-None. A-402
GNAC Quarterfinal
Lasell advances to semifinal round