STANDISH, ME – Junior guard Matthew Medeiros (Westport, Mass.) poured in a career-high 29 points to help lift Saint Joseph's (1-0) to a convincing 82-62 victory over Bowdoin College (1-2) at the Alfond Center on Tuesday night.
The visiting Polar Bears held at least a share of the lead during the opening 10 minutes but the Monks, trailing 15-11 after Bowdoin sophomore guard Bryan Hurley (Watertown, Mass.) netted a three-pointer 6:48 into the contest, mounted a game-changing 17-2 outburst over a five-minute span and would not face a deficit for the remainder of the evening.
Senior point guard Julio Vazquez (Waterbury, Conn.) kicked off the SJC run with a layup at the 12:18 mark and the Monks went on to drain five three-pointers, including three off the fingertips of Medeiros, en route to claiming the 28-17 cushion. Sophomore forward Zach Blodgett (Glenburn, Maine), making his first collegiate start, and freshman forward Nolan Allen (Windham, Maine), recording his first NCAA appearance, also connected from downtown in the offensive onslaught.
Bowdoin managed to cut the St. Joe's lead to single digits on several occasions in the closing seven minutes of the first half, but junior forward Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) hit a jumper with 38 seconds before the break to provide the Monks with a 10-point advantage, 36-26, heading into intermission.
In the first half, Saint Joseph's shot 51.9% (14-27) from the floor, 66.7% (6-9) from three-point range, and 100% (2-2) from the FT line while Bowdoin shot 34.4% (11-32) overall, 23.1% (3-13) from downtown, and 33.3% (1-3) from the charity strip in the opening stanza.
The Polar Bears would close the gap to seven, 38-31, when junior guard Andrew Madlinger (Basking Ridge, N.J.) made a three-pointer two minutes into the second half, but the visitors would get no closer to the lead as the Monks managed to counter Bowdoin's comeback bid step for step.
St. Joe's went on to put the game completely out of reach with a 12-4 run - orchestrated solely by Medeiros, who capped the surge with a four-point play - that saw the hosts secure a 66-48 cushion with 6:05 remaining.
Jobin provided the Monks with their largest lead of the night, 22 points (82-60), when he made a pair of free throws with 1:06 left in the game.
Medeiros was 9-12 from the field, including 6-8 from three-point range, and 5-7 from the FT line and added six rebounds, four assists and two steals in the Monks' season-opener. Jobin was also a force, contributing 17 points, five caroms and three assists, as was Vazquez, who tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and two dimes on the evening.
Sophomore guard Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine) was an all-around contributor with seven points, five boards and four helpers in his first collegiate start and Blodgett posted six points and four rebounds with a pair of steals in the victory. Allen went 2-3 from downtown to account for six points in his NCAA debut while sophomore guard Jordan Tripp (Maspeth, N.Y.), providing valuable minutes off the bench, added four points, four boards and a steal in 12 minutes.
Madlinger paced Bowdoin with 15 points and Polar Bears sophomore swingman Keegan Pieri (Camden, Maine) approached a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort. Hurley added seven points, six caroms and three steals and first-year guard Lucas Hausman (Westport, Conn.) chipped in eight points for the visitors.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 56% (28-50) from the field, 68.8% (11-16) from beyond the arc and 78.9% (15-19) from the free throw line in the victory. Bowdoin countered by shooting 37.5% (24-64) from the floor, 20.8% (5-24) from downtown, and 69.2% (9-13) from the charity stripe on the night.
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 8-12 in the history of the series with Bowdoin College and has defeated the Polar Bears in four of the last five meetings dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. Tonight's winning margin over Bowdoin is the largest recorded by the Monks in the history of the matchup.
The Monks' scoring output versus the Polar Bears is the most in a season-opener since the Royal Blue topped University of New England by an 85-53 tally to kick off the 2010-11 campaign. Saint Joseph's scored more than 82 points in just two of 27 contests last season.
Saint Joseph's will play at University of Southern Maine in the annual battle for the coveted Costello Cup on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM. Bowdoin is off until next Tuesday when the Polar Bears host Southern Maine at 5:30 PM.
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.