STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (7-4, 4-1 GNAC) drained a program-record 16 three-pointers in a 77-74 victory over Norwich University (4-6, 0-3 GNAC) in GNAC Men's Basketball action at the Harold Alfond Center on Tuesday evening. Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, NY) led all scorers with 20 points for the Monks.
St. Joe's held a 39-26 advantage heading into halftime, but the Cadets rallied in the second stanza with the help of a full-court press that yielded 12 SJC turnovers. The visitors outscored the Monks, 48-38, in the second half, but Saint Joseph's was able to hold off the Cadets' comeback bid by shooting 7-8 from the free throw line in the closing minutes.
Chris Petzy '12 (Kensington, NH) netted 17 points with five boards and four dimes and led the SJC aerial assault with a 5-6 performance from downtown in the victory. Matthew Medeiros '14 (Westport, MA) scored a career-high 12 points and went 4-7 from beyond the arc while Tyler Kelley '11 (Saco, ME) chipped in with 10 points, all in the second half.
The Monks' three-point performance breaks the team's record of 15 trifectas made in a contest, which was accomplished twice by the Royal Blue since the 1983-84 campaign. St. Joe's dropped 15 treys against Davidson College on December 2nd, 1992 and versus Norwich, ironically, on February 6th, 2010.
With 30 shots from beyond the arc tonight against the Cadets, the Monks nearly broke the program record for three-point attempts as well. Saint Joseph's launched 32 shots from three-point range against Davidson in 1992.
For Norwich, Antonio Davis '12 (Albany, NY) posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and contributed four assists, two blocks and two steals in the losing effort. Jaren Jeffcoat '11 (Dallas, TX) also netted 16 points and went 5-5 from the FT line while Ryan Williams '13 (Dallas, TX) added 14 and Josh Cabrera '12 (Providence, RI) chipped in with 11 points for the visitors.
The first half, which featured six lead changes and was tied on seven occasions, was a see-saw battle until the Monks pulled away with a scoring surge just before the break.
Trailing 14-13 after Jobin hit his first NCAA three at the 12:00 mark, the Cadets went on to score seven unanswered points – five coming from Williams – to secure their largest lead of the game, 20-14, with 8:49 remaining in the first half.
As it played out, the lead wouldn't last long and wound up being the Cadets' last advantage of the contest. The Monks responded with three-pointers from Petzy and O'Brien on back to back trips down the floor and regained the lead, 22-20, when O'Brien scored on a fast break with 5:46 on the clock.
Norwich was able to tie the game 47 seconds later when Tom McDonald '14 (Groton, MA) made a pair of freebies, but Saint Joseph's closed out the half on a 17-4 run and carried a 39-26 cushion into intermission. The Monks nailed four trifectas in the final three minutes of the first half including two by Medeiros in the last 45 seconds.
In the first half, Saint Joseph's shot 46.7% from the floor and 52.9% from three-point distance, while Norwich countered with a 37.9% effort from the field and a 28.6% mark from downtown. Both teams went 2-2 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes of play.
O'Brien led all scorers with 12 first-half points and Williams paced the Cadets with seven points.
The Monks extended their lead to a game-high 17 points after Anthony Savino '11 (Portland, ME/Cheverus) scored a bucket in the paint at the 13:11 mark of the second half.
St. Joe's led 57-41 three minutes later after Kelley made three-pointers on consecutive SJC possessions, but Norwich managed to cut their deficit to single digits with a 9-2 surge over the following four minutes. The outburst coincided with the Cadets' implementation of the full-court press, which produced five SJC turnovers in less than four minutes.
Jeffcoat, who made a three-pointer at the 5:55 mark to make it a 59-50 game, and Williams combined to score all nine of the Cadets' points during the run.
Saint Joseph's regrouped and held a 70-59 lead after Petzy made his fifth three-pointer of the game with 2:02 remaining.
The Cadets refused to go down easily, however, and cut the Monks' lead to 73-72 after mounting a 13-3 run which was capped by a traditional three-point play from Williams with 42 seconds on the game clock.
Fortunately, the Monks were able to drain all four free-throw attempts, two from Kelley and a pair from O'Brien, in the closing 30 seconds to clinch the victory.
Saint Joseph's shot 46.4% (26-56) overall, 53.3% (16-30) from beyond the arc and 81.8% (9-11) from the charity stripe in the victory. Norwich shot 42.4% (28-66) from the field, 40% (8-20) from three-point distance and 83.3% (10-12) from the FT line.
The Monks held a 38-33 advantage on the glass and dealt 19 assists on 26 buckets, while the Cadets registered 11 steals and forced 19 SJC turnovers in a losing effort.
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 5-2 against Norwich in the history of the series.
Both teams face GNAC opponents on the road on Saturday, as St. Joe's takes on Lasell College at 3:00 PM and Norwich will play Johnson & Wales at 1:00 PM.