STANDISH, Maine – Fifth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (13-12, 10-8 GNAC) will play at #4 Mount Ida College (16-9, 12-6 GNAC) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament Quarterfinal tonight at 7:00 PM.
This evening's winner advances to the semifinal round of the GNAC Tournament and will face the victor of another quarterfinal matchup - #8 Anna Maria College / #1 Albertus Magnus College – on Thursday evening. The higher seed serves as host throughout tourney play.
The other wing of the bracket features quarterfinal contests between #6 Emmanuel College and #3 Lasell College and #7 Suffolk University versus #2 Johnson & Wales University.
The winner of the GNAC Championship game, which will be played on Saturday, February 25th, earns an automatic berth into the 2017 NCAA DIII Men's Basketball Championship, which begins on March 3rd.
SEASON AT A GLANCE
- Seven of the Monks' 12 setbacks this season have been by nine or fewer points, including a 69-66 loss at Mount Ida on February 14th
- Saint Joseph's has actually played better on the road (7-5) than at home (6-7) this winter – the Monks average 72.6 PPG game as the visitor with a 69.6 PPG mark as the host
- St. Joe's is 7-1 when scoring 80 or more points in a game
- The Monks lead the conference in free-throw percentage (77.4%) and rank third in points per game allowed (72.0), opponents' field goal percentage (41.7%), and defensive rebounds per game (28.3)
- This winter, the Mustangs have set a program record for conference victories (12) and have registered the third-most overall wins (16) – and highest total since the 2000-01 campaign (18-7) – in team history
- Mount Ida sports an impressive 9-2 home record this season
- Tonight's hosts are 14-1 when holding opponents to fewer than 80 points
- The Mustangs lead the GNAC in three-point percentage (36.7%) and fewest turnovers per game (13.5) and rank second in the conference in field goals per game (28.6), FG% (44.4%), three-pointers made per game (8.1), steals per game (8.5), and opponents' three-point percentage (33.0%)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Sophomore forward Marc Corey (Londonderry, N.H.) leads the team in scoring (10.9 PPG), field goals made (91), three-pointers made (39), and three-point percentage (41.5%, fourth in the GNAC)
- Junior forward Quinn Richardson-Newton (Saco, Maine) contributes 9.5 points and a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 42.9% (88-205) from the floor and 72.9% (62-85) from the charity stripe
- Sophomore point guard Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) is a jack-of-all-trades for the Monks and averages 9.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest
- Senior guard Ethan Dujon (Warwick, R.I.) leads the Mustangs offensively with 16.1 PPG and is third in the GNAC in three-point percentage (44.4%)
- Junior guard Joey DeFillippi (Bristol, Conn.) averages 11.6 PPG while shooting 37.4% (43-115) from downtown and ranks as the GNAC leader in FT% (82.5%, 69-81)
- Junior guard Jayson Clark (Austin, Texas) nets 10.7 PPG and leads the conference in assists average (5.2 APG) and ranks second in the GNAC with 2.2 steals per game
ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:
Saint Joseph's: Rob Sanicola '99 (226-153, .596) – 14th collegiate season
The fourth head coach in SJC men's basketball history, Sanicola was appointed as the program's leader prior to the start of the 2003-04 campaign after having played at St. Joe's for four years (1996-99) and working as an assistant coach, under Rick Simonds, for four seasons. In 21 years as a player, assistant, and head coach at Saint Joseph's, Sanicola has helped the Monks post an impressive 377-194 (.660) overall record.
The three-time GNAC Coach of the Year honoree has led the Monks to 10-consecutive GNAC Tournament appearances, including a GNAC Championship in 2009.
Mount Ida: Ben Davis (40-62, .392) – Fourth collegiate season
Davis, selected as the Mustangs' clipboard carrier prior to the 2013-14 season, has steadily improved the Mount Ida program, as his team won five games in 2014, eight in 2015, and 11 last year before breaking through with a 16-9 mark this winter.
Prior to arriving at Mount Ida, Davis served a two-year stint as the Assistant Men's Basketball Coach at Division I Siena College and was an Assistant Men's Basketball Coach at Division II Stonehill College, where he served as the Skyhawks' National Recruiting Coordinator and helped lead the team to three NCAA DII Tournament berths. Davis played collegiately at Wheaton College and was a two-year captain for the Lyons.
Mount Ida swept the season series for the second time in as many seasons, as the Mustangs tipped the Monks, 72-61, in Standish on January 16th and edged the Royal Blue by a 69-66 margin in Newton last Tuesday.
In the first meeting, Saint Joseph's controlled play early and held a 17-7 lead six minutes into the contest, but Mount Ida managed to emerge victorious with the help of several double-digit runs, including an 11-1 outbreak midway through the second half. DeFillippi led the Mustangs with 14 points while Mileikis netted 15 and Richardson-Newton pulled down nine caroms in the setback.
Last week, the conference counterparts clashed for the second time this winter and, again, the Mustangs came out on top with the help of an offensive run – this time a 14-2 surge halfway through the second stanza – to pull off the three-point victory and earn the #4 seed in the GNAC Tournament. Junior forward Errald Jordine (Stamford, Conn.) netted 18 points with seven rebounds for the Mustangs while junior forward Aaron Hall (Haverhill, Mass.) tallied 16 points, five rebounds, and three blocked shots for the Monks.
Saint Joseph's is 17-5 in the history of the series with Mount Ida College, but has lost four-consecutive games at the hands of the Mustangs, three by 11 or fewer points.
GNAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY:
The Monks have not missed the GNAC Tournament in 10 seasons as a member of the conference and have won at least one postseason contest in seven of the last nine trips. Saint Joseph's is 11-8 in GNAC tourney play with a GNAC Championship in 2009 and appearances in the title game in 2011 and 2014.
The Mustangs, who also joined the conference in 2007, are making their sixth GNAC Tournament appearance. Mount Ida is 0-5 in GNAC postseason play and has not hosted a GNAC playoff contest since February 23rd, 2010 when the fourth-seeded Mustangs suffered an 81-75 loss at the hands of #5 Johnson & Wales.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.