NASHUA, NH – Saint Joseph's (16-6, 12-5 GNAC) defeated Rivier College (4-17, 2-12 GNAC), 73-61, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball contest on Thursday night. Sophomore Matthew Medeiros (Westport, Mass.) and senior Zach O'Brien (Schenectady, N.Y.) netted 22 points apiece in the victory.
The Raiders rattled off nine unanswered points over the first 2:23 of play but the Monks quickly recovered and notched their first lead of the night when freshman guard Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine) made a layup at with 10:42 remaining in the first half.
Eight lead changes followed in the opening period with the Monks taking the final swing as senior guard Spenser Adams (North Yarmouth, Maine) drilled a three-pointer two seconds before the break to lift his team to a 33-32 edge heading into intermission.
Buoyed by a 14-2 run over the first four minutes of the second half, Saint Joseph's went on to hold a double-digit cushion for the better part of the latter stanza. Medeiros, O'Brien and sophomore forward Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) accounted for all 14 of the Monks' points during the game-altering offensive outburst.
Rivier managed to cut the deficit down to four points (57-53) when Mike Colby hit a three-pointer with 7:51 remaining, but St. Joe's denied the hosts' comeback hopes with a 10-3 run that was capped by Medeiros, who converted a traditional three-point play five minutes later.
For the Monks, Jobin added 11 points off a 5-8 shooting performance, sophomore forward James Philbrook (Auburn, Maine) contributed six points and four rebounds in 13 bench minutes, and junior point guard Julio Vazquez (Waterbury, Conn.) tallied eight rebounds and four assists on the night.
For the Raiders, Jake Nelson made six three pointers and netted a game-high 25 points and Tom Poitras tallied 16 points, five caroms and a pair of blocked shots in a losing effort.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 52.9% (27-51) from the floor, 42.9% (9-21) from three-point distance, and 66.7% (10-15) from the free throw line. Rivier shot 43.4% (23-53) from the field, 42.9% (9-21) from downtown, and 46.2% (6-13) from the charity stripe on the night.
With the win St. Joe's improves to 7-3 in the history of the series with Rivier College. The Monks have now defeated the Raiders in six consecutive meetings dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.
These two teams will meet again on Saturday at the Harold Alfond Center in a 3:00 PM tip-off. The Monks will host Senior Day festivities prior to the start, honoring the team's quartet of four-year players: O'Brien, Adams, Tom Ray (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), and Chris Petzy (Kensington, N.H.).
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.