STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (13-4, 9-2 GNAC) recorded a 20-1 run over the final seven minutes of the first half en route to a 79-55 victory over Suffolk University (8-11, 5-7 GNAC) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball matchup at the Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 26-22 with 7:28 left in the opening stanza, the Monks used a trio of three-pointers – two from sophomore guard Matthew Medeiros (Westport, Mass.) and another from senior guard Chris Petzy (Kensington, N.H.) – to open the game-changing outbreak. Freshman forward Zach Blodgett (Glenburn, Maine) capped the run with 38 seconds before the break by scoring a layup that lifted the hosts to a 42-27 cushion.
The Rams shot 47.6% (10-21) in the opening 13 minutes of the first half but all 10 of the visitors' shots from the field fell fruitless and Suffolk committed four turnovers while the Monks took command of the contest with what could be the team's most impressive offensive outburst of the season. The Rams' only offense during the stretch was scored on a free throw by junior forward Matt Pepdjonovic (Quincy, Mass.) with 1:47 remaining in the first half.
The hosts' advantage only grew in the second stanza as the Royal Blue came out of the locker room with six straight points to secure a 48-27 lead with 15:37 remaining. The Monks would lead by at least 17 points for the remainder of play and held a game-high 28-point lead (75-47) when sophomore forward Bruno Cavallo (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) converted a pair of freebies at the 2:15 mark.
Petzy netted a game-high 17 points and Medeiros went 4-7 from beyond the arc with 14 points in the Monks' triumph. Senior guard Zach O'Brien (Schenectady, N.Y.) added 10 points, four boards and three steals, sophomore center Clark Noonan (Bangor, Maine) added 10 points and five boards, and junior point guard Julio Vazquez (Waterbury, Conn.) grabbed eight steals with five rebounds and five assists in the win.
Sophomore forward Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) added eight points and four helpers and Blodgett chipped in with six points in eight minutes off the bench. Noonan, Jobin and sophomore forward James Philbrook (Auburn, Maine) provided stellar defensive play against an opponent that featured a decided height advantage in certain personnel sets.
The aforementioned trio helped the Monks hold Pepdjonovic, who fouled out with 4:15 remaining in the conference contest, to just 13 points and 10 caroms this afternoon. The athletic 6'7 power forward entered today's action averaging 18.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game and netted 31 points and 18 boards in a win over Lasell on Thursday. For Pepdjonovic, his disqualification was the first since his freshman campaign.
For the Rams, junior forward Colin Halpin (Melrose, Mass.) netted 12 points, freshman forward Matt Powers (Westwood, Mass.) added 11, junior guard Chris Torres (Brockton, Mass.) contributed nine points, and freshman guard Phil MacArthur (Rockport, Mass.) chipped in with eight points.
Overall, St. Joe's shot 45.2% (28-62) from the field, 37% (10-27) from downtown, and 72.2% (13-18) from the free throw line. Suffolk shot 36.2% (21-58) from the floor, 27.3% (6-22) from three-point range, and 87.5% (7-8) from the FT line.
Saint Joseph's forced 22 Suffolk turnovers and grabbed 17 steals in the victory. The pilfering performance led to 21 points off turnovers and a 13-2 advantage in fast break points on the afternoon.
With the victory, St. Joe's improves to 9-1 in the history of the series with Suffolk University and has now defeated the Rams in three consecutive meetings. Suffolk's 55 points is the second-lowest scored by the Rams in the 10-game matchup – the Monks held the Rams to 51 in a victory during the 2008-09 campaign.
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.