NEWTON, MA – Zach O'Brien '12 (Schenectady, N.Y.) tallied a team-high 23 points and Nicholas Jobin '14 (Westbrook, Maine) added a career-best 17 to help Saint Joseph's (8-3, 4-1 GNAC) defeat Lasell College (4-8, 3-2 GNAC), 73-64, on Tuesday evening.
Leading 12-9 with 13:58 remaining in the opening stanza, the Monks proceeded to roll out a 14-0 run from which the Lasers would not recover. Jobin registered eight points during the SJC outbreak, which took place over a five-minute span and was capped with an O'Brien three-pointer that saw the visitors secure a 26-9 cushion with 8:58 left in the first half. Lasell went 0-6 from the floor during the same stretch.
Lasell would not go down easily however as the hosts outscored the visitors by a 14-7 margin over the remainder of the first period and trailed by 10, 33-23, heading into intermission.
O'Brien led all first-half scorers with 15 points off a 6-8 shooting effort from the field while Sean Bertanza paced the Lasers with eight points in the opening frame.
Over the opening 20 minutes, St. Joe's shot 53.8% from the field, 66.7% from three-point distance, and 50% from the FT line. Lasell countered by shooting 33.3% overall and 21.4% from downtown. The hosts did not attempt a free throw in the first half.
Although the Monks would not relinquish the lead, the second stanza featured aggressive play from both teams as the Lasers battled back to within striking distance on a handful of occasions.
St. Joe's held a 46-33 lead after Jobin converted a traditional three-point play at the 14:26 mark, but the Lasers quickly whittled away at their deficit by posting 7-0 run over the subsequent two minutes of play. The Monks managed to hold the hosts at bay with efficient three-point shooting as Matthew Medeiros '14 (Westport, Mass.) and Bruno Cavallo '14 (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) drilled trifectas to help the Royal Blue gain a 54-42 advantage with 10:20 remaining.
The Monks maintained a double-digit lead until Bertanza hit a three-pointer with 6:16 on the game clock. Saint Joseph's surged once again and held a 66-51 cushion after Jobin hit a freebie at the 2:49 mark. The Lasers made one final push with an 8-0 run that cut the SJC advantage down to 66-59 with 2:01 left.
Lasell continued to battle, but Saint Joseph's was able to come away with the victory thanks in part to a 5-6 free-throw shooting performance in the closing minutes.
For the Monks, Medeiros added 14 points and six rebounds, Clark Noonan '14 (Bangor, Maine) recorded eight points and four boards, and O'Brien pulled down a team-high seven caroms.
For the Lasers, Bertanza netted 23 points with the help of a 5-11 performance from downtown and Javon Williams tallied 19 points with game-highs of nine caroms and three steals.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 54.2% (26-48) from the field, 46.2% (6-13) from downtown, and 71.4% (15-21) from the FT line while Lasell shot 38.7% (24-62) from the floor, 33.3% (8-24) from three-point distance, and 57.1% (8-14) from the charity stripe.
The Monks held advantages in rebounds (42-22), points in the paint (26-24), and bench points (34-19) while the Lasers won the turnover battle (11-19) and held leads in assists (13-9), points off turnovers (22-10), and second-chance points (13-8).
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 7-6 in the history of the series with Lasell College and has now defeated the Lasers in four consecutive meetings.
The Monks continue their conference road trip on Thursday, January 12, when they will face Rivier at 7:00 p.m. The Lasers take the court again this Thursday when they host GNAC opponent Johnson & Wales, tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.