STANDISH, ME – The NCAA Statistics Department has announced that the Saint Joseph's College men's basketball team is the 2011 NCAA Division III statistical champion for three-point field goal percentage.
As a team, the Monks shot an impressive 43.2% from beyond the arc with 240 three-pointers made in 556 attempts. The success rate not only led all 402 DIII institutions, but the entire NCAA, which also includes 275 DII schools and 336 DI programs. In all, the Monks' three-point shooting percentage during the 2010-11 campaign was the highest recorded by the 1,013 DI, DII and DIII institutions which sponsor men's basketball.
Saint Joseph's has now been recognized by the NCAA as a statistical leader three times in the past five seasons. Elbie Murphy '09 paced all NCAA levels with 4.2 steals per game during the 2006-07 campaign and, with 13.0 personal fouls per game in 2009-10, the Monks ranked first among all NCAA DIII programs in fewest fouls per contest.
"It is an honor to be recognized by the NCAA for our three point success," says Head Coach Rob Sanicola '99. "As a staff we were very fortunate and continue to be fortunate to have excellent players in our program that always put the team before themselves and buy into the system."
The Monks' long distance shooting performance was led by junior guard Chris Petzy (Kensington, NH), who drilled 45.5% (65-143) of his three-point bids last winter. Senior guard Tyler Kelley (Saco, ME) made 44.7% (84-188) of his attempts from downtown, an individual percentage that ranked 13th in NCAA DIII Men's Basketball. In order to listed among the NCAA leaders, an individual player must make 2.5 three-pointers per contest.
In all, four SJC players made at least 30 trifectas during the 2010-11 season. Freshman guard Matthew Medeiros (Westport, MA) made his mark as a rookie with 32 threes in 73 shots for a 43.8% success rate and junior swingman Zach O'Brien (Schenectady, NY) made 34 treys in 85 attempts for an even 40% mark. Four players have made 30 or more threes in a season just two times – the 1998-99 campaign being the other – in the history of SJC Men's Basketball.
"Their preparation and hard work into the fundamental skills of shooting and passing was the best since I have been here," adds Coach Sanicola, who just completed his eighth season at the helm. "They also did an excellent job of giving up good shots for great shots, while delivering the ball on time and on track."
The Monks' three-point percentage has increased exponentially since the 2007-08 season, when the Royal Blue ranked 311th in NCAA DIII with a 31.4% (148-472) rate from downtown. St. Joe's ranked 102nd in the country with a 35.9% (148-412) mark in 2008-09 and 23rd overall in 2009-10 with a 38.9% (153-393) success rate from three-point distance.
The 2010-11 team set new program records for three-point percentage and three-pointers made (240). Kelley capped his outstanding career as the Monks' all-time leader in three-point percentage (43.9%, 199-453) and ranks second in program history in three-pointers made. With a 49.1% (54-110) rate during his sophomore campaign, he also owns the Monks' single-season three-point percentage mark.
Saint Joseph's, 20-8 overall and 14-2 in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play last winter, collected the top seed in the conference tourney and defeated #8 Mount Ida and #4 Norwich University before falling to second-seeded Johnson & Wales in the championship game at the Alfond Center.
"I am proud of their effort and accomplishment and looking forward to getting back on the court with these young men next season," says Sanicola.