BOSTON, MA – Suffolk University (4-6, 2-1 GNAC) bested Saint Joseph's (5-2, 2-1 GNAC), 77-71, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball action on Saturday. Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, NY) scored 19 points to lead the Monks in a losing effort.
Matt Pepdjonovic '13 (Quincy, MA) had a career-high 29 points and completed a double-double effort with 13 caroms to lead the Rams to their first-ever victory over Saint Joseph's, who had defeated Suffolk in each of the six meetings over the past three seasons.
A 9-0 run late in the second half would decide the game, as Suffolk picks up their second win of the season in GNAC play, and fourth overall. With both teams deadlocked at 65 points apiece and less than four minutes remaining, the Rams went 9-for-11 as a team from the free throw line and added a clutch three point field goal from the corner by sophomore Colin Halpin (Melrose, MA) to close out the victory.
Halpin finished the game with 19 points, while junior Justin Barall (East Hampton, CT) scored a season-high 17 points as he went a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Senior Tyler Kelley (Saco, ME) chipped in with 13 points and made three trifectas for the Monks, while Chris Petzy '12 (Kensington, NH) netted nine points and four boards. Julio Vazquez '13 (Waterbury, CT) and Matthew Medeiros '14 (Westport, MA) both tallied seven points while splitting the point-guard duties for St. Joe's and James Philbrook '14 (Auburn, ME) collected a team-high six caroms.
Kelley moved into third all-time in three-pointers made in SJC Men's Basketball history when he connected on a trey 20 seconds into the game. With 137 threes in 83 contests, he sits behind only Chad Pulkkinen '07 (192) and Stephen Chase '93 (311) in long balls made at Saint Joseph's.
The biggest difference in the game was the dominance of Pepdjonovic in the paint. Pepdjonovic was a defensive monster as he blocked three Monks' shots over the final seven minutes of the game, and led all players with nine defensive rebounds in the contest. The Rams held a slight edge in rebounds at 38-33, but dominated in the paint scoring 36 points. Pepdjonovic had 19 first half points, going 9-for-12 from the floor.
The Rams managed to control the score most of the game as they went into the intermission with a seven point lead at 45-38. Suffolk would hold the lead for the majority of the second half until a late 10-2 run by the Monks got the game even at 65 when Medeiros connected on a three-pointer at 3:47. It would be all Suffolk the rest of the way though, as Pepdjonovic nailed four free throws and Halpin added five points over the final three minutes to secure the win.
The Monks will be back in action on December 30 as they travel to Davidson College to take on the NCAA DI Wildcats at 7:00 PM. Suffolk will be idle until January 11 when they travel to Emmanuel College to take on the Saints in GNAC competition at 5:30 PM.
THANKS IN PART TO SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION