STANDISH, ME – The SJC Men's Basketball team will host Norwich University in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal contest on Thursday night at 7:00 PM. In order to advance to the semis, the top-seeded Monks (19-7, 15-3 GNAC) defeated #8 Mount Ida College, 82-71, and the #4 Cadets (16-10, 11-7 GNAC) topped #5 Emerson College, 62-44, in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday evening.
The Monks have now advanced to the semifinal round of the GNAC tourney in three of the past four years. St. Joe's fell to Emerson in 2008 and defeated Albertus Magnus en route to winning the GNAC Championship in 2009.
Head Coach Rob Sanicola '99 carries a 138-79 (.636) career record into the GNAC Semifinal and the Monks have posted a 6-2 mark in GNAC tourney play in four seasons as a member of the conference under his watch.
Junior guard Zach O'Brien (Schenectady, NY) paces the Royal Blue in scoring (17.1 PPG), rebounding (4.8 RPG), assists (4.4 APG) and field goal percentage (49.7%, 173-348) through 26 contests. His current point total (445) is the most in a season by an SJC player since Chad Pulkkinen '07 recorded 505 points in 30 games during the 2006-07 campaign.
Tyler Kelley '11 (Saco, ME) averages 15.3 points per game and currently leads the conference in three-point success (46.3%, 82-177) and trifectas made (82). The senior sharpshooter ranks second in team history in threes made (197) and is 15 treys shy of tying the program's single-season mark for three-pointers made in a season.
Chris Petzy '12 (Kensington, NH) ranks third on the team with a 15.2 PPG average and leads the Royal Blue in free-throw shooting (82.7%, 91-110) this season and his success rate from the line currently ranks as the third-highest in team history. Also an excellent long-distance shooter, Petzy has converted 43.8% (57-130) of his shots from beyond the arc during his junior campaign.
O'Brien became the fourth member of this year's team to make 30 three pointers after he drained a pair of three-pointers in the quarterfinal win over Mount Ida. The 1998-99 team is the only other squad in program history to have a quartet of players make at least 30 threes in a single season. Ryan Martin '00, Carl Howell '99, Anthony (Marlow) Bernard '00 and Rob Sanicola '99 all topped the 30-threes-made mark that year.
The Monks rank second in all of NCAA Basketball – all levels – in three-point percentage.
O'Brien registered his fourth double-double of the year with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Mount Ida Tuesday night. Petzy also scored 20 and went 10-12 from the FT line, while Kelley netted 16 points off a 5-8 performance from downtown.
Through 26 games, Saint Joseph's is shooting 46.4% from the field, 43.0% from three-point distance, and 71.2% from the charity stripe. The Monks currently average 74.7 points, 34.2 rebounds, and 15.0 assists per game.
Norwich Head Coach Paul Booth has posted a 225-240 (.484) record in nearly 18 full seasons as the Cadets' clipboard carrier. Booth is the all-time victories leader for the Norwich program.
The Cadets feature a well-balanced offensive attack with four players averaging north of 10 PPG this season. Antonio Davis '12 (Albany, NY) ranks as the team leader in scoring (15.7 PPG), rebounding (9.0 RPG), field goal percentage (51.5%, 169-328), and blocked shots (26).
Jaren Jeffcoat '11 (Dallas, TX) nets 12.8 points and 4.7 caroms per contest and Josh Cabrera '12 (Providence, RI), the Cadets' top long-distance threat with 37 trifectas, contributes 11.0 points on average. Ryan Williams '13 (Dallas, TX) chips in with 10.6 points per game.
Cabrera scored a game-high 21 points with nine boards and four steals in the Cadets' quarterfinal win over Emerson on Tuesday. Davis added 11 points and nine rebounds to help his team advance to the semis.
Saint Joseph's is 5-3 in the history of the series with Norwich and suffered a 73-59 loss in the last meeting with the Cadets, which took place in Northfield, VT on February 5th this season. Petzy scored 17 to lead the Royal Blue while Cabrera, Davis and Jeffcoat all netted 12 points for Norwich.