STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's improved to 4-0 with a 70-58 victory over Husson University in a non-conference men's basketball contest at the Harold Alfond Center on Wednesday evening. Senior guard Chris Petzy (Kensington, N.H.) netted 31 points and surpassed the 1,000 career-point plateau in the triumph.
Petzy reached the landmark with a three-pointer off a Tom Ray '12 (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) pass with 6:20 remaining in the first half. He is the 35th player in program history to score 1,000 points in their collegiate career.
The teams battled through a series of lead changes and tie scores in the opening stanza, with neither club held a lead of more than five points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Monks led 4-2, with both buckets coming from Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, N.Y.), after the first minute of play, but fell victim to seven straight Husson points and trailed 9-4 when Daeshawn McMorrin '13 (Naugatuck, Conn.) drained a three-pointer at the 16:27 mark.
A McMorrin layup maintained the Eagles' advantage just over two minutes later, but Matthew Medeiros '14 (Westport, Mass.) dropped a three and Nicholas Jobin '14 (Westbrook, Maine) made a nice power move in the paint to score a layup over the subsequent three minutes to knot the game at 13-apiece.
A Petzy jumper on the following SJC possession lifted the Royal Blue to a slim advantage, one the hosts would hold on to until Husson sophomore guard Phil Leighton (Naples, Maine) hit a shot from downtown to lift his team to a 26-23 advantage with 4:45 remaining in the first half.
The Eagles proceeded to hold at least a share of the lead for the remainder of the opening stanza and carried a slim 32-30 cushion into the break.
In the first half, St. Joe's shot 48.1% from the field, 50% from downtown and went 0-2 from the free throw line. Husson countered by shooting 46.9% from the floor and 20% from three-point range. The Eagles did not go to the line in the opening 20 minutes.
As it played out, Petzy put the Monks on top to stay when he drilled a three-pointer 31 seconds into the second half. His shot from beyond the arc put the hosts up by one and Clark Noonan '14 (Bangor, Maine) lifted his team to a three-point advantage with a jump shot at the 18:51 mark.
Although St. Joe's did not trail for the remainder of the contest, the hosts would not enjoy a comfortable cushion until midway through the second period. Leading by three, 43-40, after Marc Zaharchuk (Richmond, Maine) connected on a free throw, the Monks opened up a 9-2 run that was capped by a Julio Vazquez '13 (Waterbury, Conn.) fastbreak layup at the 12:02 mark. The Eagles struck back with four quick points, but Saint Joseph's managed to net six over a minute span with the help of two Husson turnovers to secure a double-digit lead that would not be relinquished.
The Monks went on to secure a game-high 16-point lead, 68-52, when Petzy drained his fifth trifecta of the evening with 3:50 remaining.
For St. Joe's, O'Brien and Jobin both netted nine points, Ray added eight with four boards and Vazquez dealt seven dimes.
For Husson, Zaharchuk recorded an impressive double-double with 18 points and 16 caroms, Leighton scored 14, and McMorrin chipped in with nine points and four assists.
Saint Joseph's shot 47.4% (27-57) overall, 43.8% (7-16) from three-point distance, and 64.3% (9-14) from the FT line. Husson shot 37.5% (21-56) from the floor, 23.5% (4-17) from beyond the arc, and 70-6% (12-17) from the charity stripe.
The Eagles held a 38-26 advantage in rebounds while both teams posted 17 assists on the evening.
With the win, St. Joe's improves to 35-44 in the history of the series with Husson University and brings a two-game losing streak at the hands of the Eagles to a halt.
The Monks are 4-0 for the first time under the watch of ninth-year Head Coach Rob Sanicola '99 and are undefeated through four games for the first time since the 1998-99 season, which was Sanicola's senior season. St. Joe's began that year with a program-record 23 consecutive victories and went 26-3 overall en route to making a national tournament appearance.
Through four contests, Saint Joseph's has not allowed more than 68 points in a single game. Never before in program history have the Monks opened a season by holding opponents to fewer than 70 points in four straight games.
Saint Joseph's will host Albertus Magnus College – the 2011-12 GNAC Preseason Poll favorite – in what will be the conference-opener for both teams this Saturday at 3:00 PM. Husson also opens conference play this weekend and will host North Atlantic Conference rival Maine Maritime Academy at 1:00 PM.