STANDISH, ME – The Saint Joseph's College men's and women's basketball programs will play host to a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament Semifinal doubleheader on Thursday evening.
Both teams earned #2 seeds in their respective tournaments after posting exceptional regular-season records. The SJC women will host #3 Rivier College at 5:30 PM and the men will face off against #6 Anna Maria College at 7:30 PM. Prior to this season the Harold Alfond Center had never housed a pair of playoff basketball second-round games on the same night.
The Saint Joseph's men, led by ninth-year Head Coach Rob Sanicola '99 (157-88, .641), own an 18-8 overall record and posted a 13-5 mark in conference contests this year. The Monks walked past #7 Mount Ida College with a 79-43 triumph in the quarterfinals at the Alfond on Tuesday night. Anna Maria (13-13, 10-8 GNAC) pulled off a 64-63 upset victory over Johnson & Wales University, the reigning conference champions, on Tuesday.
Anna Maria, a first-year member of the GNAC, has had the Monks' number this season as the AMCATS posted a pair of wins over the Royal Blue during the regular season. Both setbacks came by seven-point deficits with the latter being a 61-54 loss in Paxton, Massachusetts on February 4th. Senior guard Chris Petzy (Kensington, N.H.) scored a game-high 16 points in the losing effort.
The semifinals appearance will be the Monks' fourth in five seasons as a GNAC member. St. Joe's, 7-3 all-time in GNAC postseason play and the #1 seed last season, toppled Norwich University (71-52) in the semis and fell to Johnson & Wales in the GNAC Championship last winter.
Top-seeded Albertus Magnus College (25-1, 18-0 GNAC) routed #8 Emerson College, 82-58, in the first round and will host #4 Lasell College at 7:00 PM on Thursday. Lasell bested #5 Emmanuel College, 80-73, in the opening round on Tuesday night. Thursday's winners will face off in the GNAC Championship game, hosted by the highest remaining seed, on Saturday.
The St. Joe's women, 19-7 overall and 12-1 in GNAC play under the guidance of 19th-year Head Coach Mike McDevitt '83 (375-145, .721), this winter, toppled #7 Albertus Magnus College, 89-51, in a quarterfinal matchup at the Alfond Center on Tuesday night. Rivier (18-8, 11-2 GNAC) thwarted #6 Johnson & Wales University by a 67-58 margin on the same date to advance to the semis.
The Monks handed the Raiders their second conference loss of the season with a 78-41 victory at home on February 11th. Senior guard Megan McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) netted a game-high 16 points and went 4-6 from three-point distance in the lopsided win.
For the women's team, the GNAC Tournament Semifinal appearance is the second in five seasons as a member of the conference. The Monks advanced to the second round last year and, despite a furious comeback effort, fell to #2 Suffolk, 71-62, in Boston on February 24th.
In other first-round action, top-seeded Emmanuel College topped #8 Norwich University by a 66-54 margin while #4 Suffolk University handled #5 Mount Ida College, 93-59, on Tuesday evening. Emmanuel will host Suffolk on Thursday in a 7:00 PM tip-off. Thursday's winners will face off in the GNAC Championship game, hosted by the highest remaining seed, on Saturday.