STANDISH, ME - Albertus Magnus College (10-1, 5-0 GNAC) defeated Saint Joseph's College (7-4, 3-2 GNAC), 92-75, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball contest at the Harold Alfond Center on Tuesday evening. Sophomore guard Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine) scored a career-high 35 points in the losing effort.
In the first half, the Monks fell victim to poor ball security and several Albertus Magnus scoring surges, two aspects that led to a 48-36 Falcons' lead at the break. Albertus, ranked 19th in the country in the latest D3hoops.com poll, netted 15 points off 10 Saint Joseph's turnovers in the opening 20 minutes and went on to lead by double digits for the entire second stanza.
With the game tied at 13-apiece at the 12:25 mark of the first period, the Falcons scored seven unanswered points – including five by junior guard Julian Sanders (Trumbull, Conn.) – to secure a 20-13 cushion. The Monks managed to cut their deficit down to 26-22 when Simonds connected on his first three-pointer of the game with 7:06 left in the opening half, but the visitors went on another run, this time a 9-0 outburst, over the following 3:11 to claim a 35-22 lead.
Trailing 43-29 with 2:04 before the break, Simonds nailed a trifecta and hit a jumper in a matter of 23 seconds to make it a nine-point game, but the single-digit deficit would be the Monks' last of the evening as Falcons freshman James Jennings (Stratford, Conn.) made a three of his own at the 1:04 mark to help propel his team to a 48-36 halftime advantage.
In the first half, the Falcons shot a scorching 59.1% (18-32) from the field and Albertus junior Darius Watson (New Britain, Conn.) led all scorers with 20 points at the break. The Monks shot a respectable 46.7% (14-30) and were led offensively by Simonds, who scored 17, and Krubiel Workie (Denver, Colo.), who netted 11, in the opening frame.
St. Joe's trailed 58-42 after Watson made a pair of freebies with 15:34 left in the contest and showed some life by way of a 6-0 run over the next minute of play, but any hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed by the Falcons, who tallied six quick points in just over a minute to essentially put the game away midway through the second half.
For the Monks, Workie tallied 13 points, six rebounds and six assists, Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) added 12 points and eight caroms, and Matthew Medeiros (Westport, Mass.) contributed nine points, five boards and four steals in a losing effort.
Unfortunately for Simonds, his career-night went for naught. The sophomore swingman was 12-18 from the floor – including a stellar 6-8 performance from downtown – and 5-5 from the free throw line in putting up the most points by an SJC player since Zach O'Brien '12 netted the same total against Johnson & Wales University on January 12th, 2012.
No Saint Joseph's player has scored more than 35 points since Travis Seaver '03 poured in 36 in a 98-85 win over Thomas College on January 19th, 2000.
For the Falcons, Watson was 13-16 from the field and totaled 35 points, Lemar Larsen (Waterbury, Conn.) added 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and Arshad Jackson (Hartford, Conn.) and Jefferson Lora (Bronx, N.Y.) netted nine points apiece.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 40% (26-65) from the floor, 38.1% (8-21) from three-point range, and 75% (15-20) from the FT line. Albertus countered by shooting a season-high 57.4% (31-54) from the field, 36.8% (7-19) from downtown, and 76.7% (23-30) from the charity stripe.
With the loss, Saint Joseph's falls to 7-5 in the history of the series with Albertus Magnus College and has now fallen on the wrong side of the ledger in three consecutive meetings with the Falcons. Albertus has won 30 straight GNAC contests dating back to the 2010-11 campaign – Saint Joseph's was the last conference team to defeat the Falcons in regular-season play (86-83, 1/17/2011).
Both teams resume conference play on Thursday, when Saint Joseph's plays at Johnson & Wales and Albertus hosts Rivier University. Both tilts are slated to start at 7:00 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.