STANDISH, ME – Bowdoin College (8-2) used a late surge to slip past Saint Joseph's (5-4, 2-1 GNAC), 66-61, in non-conference men's basketball action at the Harold Alfond Center on Thursday night. Junior guards Zach O'Brien (Schenectady, NY) and Chris Petzy (Kensington, NH) led the Monks with 13 points apiece in the disappointing setback.
Neither team held a lead of more than six points and the lead swapped hands on 12 occasions in the closely-contested battle of in-state rivals. The game also featured nine tie-scores.
Polar Bears junior forward Will Hanley (New Canaan, CT) netted a game-high 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while sophomore center Max Staiger (West Caldwell, NJ) posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 caroms for the visitors.
A bright spot for Saint Joseph's was the play of freshman center Clark Noonan (Bangor, ME), who tallied 11 points off a 5-7 effort from the floor and added six board and two blocks in his first collegiate start. Tyler Kelley '11 (Saco, ME) was 3-5 from beyond the arc and added 11 points for St. Joe's.
Julio Vazquez '13 (Waterbury, CT) and O'Brien both registered six assists for Saint Joseph's.
Led by Hanley and Staiger, both of whom stand at 6'7" or taller, Bowdoin netted sizable advantages in points in the paint (38-16) and rebounds (35-27). The Monks' effort from three-point range (11-23) nearly offset the Polar Bears' advantage under the bucket, but the fact that the Royal Blue made it to the FT line just four times, with two conversions, certainly played a role in the result.
The Polar Bears managed to seal the victory by hitting two three-pointers, the visitors' only trifectas of the contest, in the closing minutes.
The Monks led 57-55 after O'Brien hit a three at the 4:40 mark, but Randy DeFeo '11 (Ridgewood, NJ) nailed a long-ball nearly a minute later to put his team on top by one with 3:46 remaining.
Petzy grabbed a steal on the Polar Bears' following possession and went coast to coast with a fast-break layup to lift the hosts to a slim lead once again. Noonan proceeded to make a layup at the 1:43 mark to extend the SJC cushion to 61-58 with 1:43 to play but Hanley, who entered the game having gone 1-5 from downtown in nine games, took a three-point shot on an open look and drained it to tie the game at 61-apiece.
Bowdoin gained the lead, for good, as it turned out, on the visitor's next possession. After a Petzy jumper missed the mark, Staiger tapped in a put-back off a Hanley miss to give his team a 63-61 cushion with 29 seconds on the game clock.
The Monks committed a costly turnover on their subsequent trip down the floor, as Hanley grabbed a loose ball with four seconds left. Ryan O'Connell '12 (Ipswich, MA), who scored 12 points overall for the visitors, converted a traditional three-point play to cap the game scoring with the Polar Bears heading back to Brunswick with a hard-fought 66-61 victory.
The game stood at a 33-33 deadlock after the first 20 minutes of play, a span which featured four lead changes and six tie-scores. The Monks' largest lead of the game, five points (11-6) came after O'Brien drained a three five minutes into play.
In the opening stanza, Saint Joseph's shot 43.3% from the floor and 46.7% from three-point range, while Bowdoin shot 53.3% from the field and did not attempt a three-pointer. The only free throw attempted by either team in the first half, shot by Bowdon's Hanley, was successful.
The Polar Bears held a 19-11 advantage in caroms and scored 18 points in the paint before the break.
Hanley led all scorers with 13 first-half points and Petzy paced the Monks with nine points in the opening period.
Bowdoin's largest lead, six points (50-44), came after Matt Mathias '14 (Baltimore, MD) made a layup with 11:12 left in the second half.
Overall, St. Joe's shot 40.7% (24-59) from the floor, 47.8% (11-23) from long distance and 50% (2-4) from the charity stripe. Bowdoin shot an even 50% (28-56) from the field, 40% (2-5) from downtown and 88.9% (8-9) from the FT line.
The SJC offense displayed excellent ball movement, which resulted in 21 assists on 24 field goals made in the losing effort.
With the loss, Saint Joseph's falls to 6-12 in the history of the matchup with Bowdoin. Entering tonight's game, the Monks had tipped the Polar Bears in consecutive meetings.
St. Joe's will play at Emmanuel College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest on Saturday at 3:00 PM. Bowdoin will play at Maine-Farmington on Saturday at 2:00 PM.