STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's College (7-6, 6-0 GNAC) bested Mount Ida College (4-9, 2-5 GNAC), 75-47, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's basketball contest at the Harold AlfondHarold Alfond Center on Wednesday night. Junior Zach Blodgett (Glenburn, Maine) recorded the first double-double of his career with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
Both teams were off to a slow start as a three-pointer from junior guard Everett Ramirez (Los Angeles, Calif.) lifting the Mustangs to an 11-10 edge 7:22 into the conference contest. The Monks quickly regained the lead two minutes later on a traditional three-point play, converted by senior guard Matthew Medeiros (Westport, Mass.), and the course of play remained relatively close until the hosts headed into intermission on the heals of a 10-run.
Starting the second stanza with a 40-27 cushion, Saint Joseph's received five unanswered points from Medeiros to stake an 18-point lead with 17:17 to go. Mount Ida countered in kind by posting a 9-1 surge - with four points from sophomore guard Michael Joseph (Windsor, Conn.) - over the subsequent four minutes to cut the deficit down to 46-36, but the comeback bid was short-circuited when Medeiros added another three-point play and Simonds netted a pair of foul shots on a technical called at the 10:28 mark.
The aggregate five-point play allowed the Royal Blue to claim a 54-38 lead and the hosts led by at least 14 for the remainder of the game. The Monks' largest lead would be their last, as freshman Danny Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) scored on a nice move in the paint with 17 seconds left to account for the 75-47 final.
For the Monks, Medeiros and Simonds netted 16 points apiece, senior forward Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) added 14 points, six boards and three assists, and freshman Andrew Ruffen (Salem, N.H.) came off the bench to contribute five points in 10 minutes on the court.
For the Mustangs, Senior center Patrick Wenz (Long Island, N.Y.) scored 10 with five caroms, freshman guard Nathan Bueno (Methuen, Mass.) chipped in with eight points, senior forward Kairi Alston (Highland, N.Y.) added seven points, and junior forward Treace Macklin (Brockton, Mass.) pulled down a team-high nine rebounds with four points in the losing bid.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 49.1% (27-55) from the floor, 35.7% (10-28) from three-point distance and 73.3% (11-15) from the free throw line on the evening. Mount Ida shot 33.9% (19-56) from the field, 27.3% (6-22) from downtown and 33.3% (3-9) from the charity stripe in the loss.
The Mustangs held a slight 37-34 lead in rebounds while the Monks recorded a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint and outscored the visitors by a 15-7 margin on turnovers in the GNAC tilt.
Both teams return to action versus conference opponents this Saturday, when Saint Joseph's travels to Albertus Magnus College for a 3:00 PM start and Mount Ida hosts Lasell College in a 1:00 PM tip-off.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 14-1 in the history of the series with Mount Ida College…the Mustangs' lone win in the matchup came just last season when they defeated the Monks by a 69-52 score in Newton, Mass. on January 28th, 2013…all but three of the SJC victories versus Ida have been by 12 or more points…now 6-0 in GNAC play, St. Joe's is off to the program's best conference start in seven seasons as a member of the league…Danny Fitzgerald connected on his first NCAA bucket in the win…UP NEXT: Albertus Magnus (11-1, 7-0 GNAC), ranked 23rd in the nation in the latest D3Hoops.com top-25 poll, and Saint Joseph's face off in a battle of the only two remaining unbeaten GNAC teams on Saturday…the Monks are 7-6 all-time versus the Falcons, but have lost four-consecutive games to the reigning conference champs and have not defeated AMC at home since the 2010-11 campaign.
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 430-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.