BOSTON, MA – Junior forward Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) tallied game-highs with 21 points and nine rebounds to help Saint Joseph's (5-2, 2-1 GNAC) cruise past Emerson College (4-4, 2-1 GNAC), 75-53, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball contest on Saturday afternoon.
First-half shooting efforts proved to be the difference, as the Monks shot a blistering 57.7% (15-26) from the field, including 54.5% (6-11) from three-point range, while the Lions made just 28% (7-25) of their bids from the floor in the opening stanza. The discrepancy in field goal efficiency yielded a 41-22 halftime lead for Saint Joseph's.
St. Joe's cooled off in the second frame, shooting 33.3% (8-24) from the field, but the hosts fared little better than their first-half effort and made only 29.6% (8-27) of their shots in the closing stanza and posted a 28.8% (15-52) effort overall.
Neither the road trip nor enemy atmosphere would hinder the Monks as it was the host-Lions who came out of the gates with sluggish play. Saint Joseph's turned three Emerson turnovers into seven quick points in the opening 1:40 with sophomore Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine) hitting a three-point dagger off a Matthew Medeiros (Westport, Mass.) feed, lifting the Royal Blue to an early 7-0 lead.
Emerson sophomore Brian Hurley (South Boston, Mass.) proceeded to net a pair of buckets in the paint to cut the SJC lead to 7-4 two minutes later, but Saint Joseph's produced eight unanswered points, a stretch capped by a Jobin traditional three-point play, to secure a 15-4 advantage with 14:08 remaining in the first.
The Lions answered in turn with a 7-0 burst of their own with five coming by way of the free throw, cutting the Monks' cushion down to 15-11 three minutes later. Freshman forward Sean Duffy (Berwyn, Pa.) made two freebies to help the hosts maintain a manageable five-point (20-15) disadvantage with 9:36 before the half, but St. Joe's went on to outscore Emerson by a 21-7 margin for the remainder of the period and carried a daunting 19-point advantage heading into intermission.
Jobin led all first-half scorers with 13 points and sophomore forward Zach Blodgett (Glenburn, Maine) added 11 in the opening 20 minutes. Hurley and junior forward Nick Welch (Newburyport, Mass.) paced the hosts with four points apiece in the first frame.
The start of the second stanza saw the Lions cut their deficit down to 16, 43-27, but the hosts would get no closer to the lead as St. Joe's poured in nine straight points, with Simonds and Blodgett trifectas closing the outbreak with the Monks owning a comfortable 52-27 cushion with 12:48 left to play.
Saint Joseph's proceeded to carry at least a 20-point lead for the remainder of the conference contest en route to the 75-53 triumph.
For the Monks, Simonds registered 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals, Medeiros added 15 points with four assists, and Blodgett contributed 14 points, four assists and four caroms. Freshman guard Jerome Diggs (Centreville, Va.) chipped in three steals, three dimes and a pair of boards in 16 minutes off the bench and sophomore Jordan Tripp (Maspeth, N.Y.) contributed five rebounds in his first collegiate start. Also, SJC freshman guard Corey McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to notch his first NCAA points.
James Rhodes (Hebron, Conn.) paced the Lions with eight points while Jacob Forchheimer (Avon, Conn.) and Mike Carbone (North Reading, Mass.) added seven points apiece in the losing effort. The Lions' bench outscored the hosts' starting lineup by a 38-15 margin in the GNAC setback.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 46% (23-50) from the field, 47.6% (10-21) from three-point distance and 63.6% (14-22) from the FT Line while Emerson shot 28.8% (15-52) from the floor, 23.8% (5-21) from three-point land, and 75% (18-24) from the charity stripe on the afternoon.
The Monks out-rebounded the Lions by a 41-25 margin, including 14 offensive boards, and dealt a season-high 22 assists, compared to 13 dimes by the hosts, in the victory.
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 6-4 in the history of the series with Emerson College and has now defeated the Lions in six straight meetings dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. Today's 22-point triumph over Emerson is the largest margin of victory posted by either team in the 10-game history of the matchup.
Saint Joseph's is off until Sunday, December 30th when the Monks play host to the Hawks of Becker College in a non-conference tilt scheduled to begin at 2:00 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.