November 30, 2011

Monks March Past Eagles in Second Half

Standish, ME - The Husson University Men's Basketball team held a  32-30 advantage over the Monks of Saint Joseph's at halftime on Wednesday, after Senior Guard Chris Petzy (Kensington, NH) scored his 1,000th point, the rejuvenated host team stormed to a 70-58 victory at the Harold Alfond Center. Petzy went on to score a game-high 31 points on the night as St. Joe's took the 2011 edition of this longstanding Maine rivalry.

The Eagles were led by 6'10" center Marc Zaharchuk (Richmond, ME) who recorded an impressive double-double with 18 points and 16 boards. Sophomore Phil Leighton (Naples, ME) continued his impressive return to the Eagles' squad, scoring 14, while junior point guard Daeshawn McMorrin (Naugatuck, CT) chipped in with nine points and four assists.

Petzy reached the landmark with a three-pointer off a Tom Ray (Cape Elizabeth, ME) pass with 6:20 remaining in the first half. He is the 35th player in program history to score 1,000 points in their collegiate career.

The teams battled through a series of lead changes and tie scores in the opening stanza, with neither club held a lead of more than five points in the opening 20 minutes.

The Monks led 4-2, with both buckets coming from Zach O'Brien (Schenectady, NY), after the first minute of play, but fell victim to seven straight Husson points and trailed 9-4 when McMorrin drained a three-pointer at the 16:27 mark.

A McMorrin layup maintained the Eagles' advantage just over two minutes later, but Matthew Medeiros (Westport, MA) dropped a three and Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, ME) made a nice power move in the paint to score a layup over the subsequent three minutes to knot the game at 13-apiece.

A Petzy jumper on the following SJC possession lifted the Royal Blue to a slim advantage, one the hosts would hold on to until Leighton hit a shot from downtown to lift his team to a 26-23 advantage with 4:45 remaining in the first half.

The Eagles proceeded to hold at least a share of the lead for the remainder of the opening stanza and carried a slim 32-30 cushion into the break.

In the first half, St. Joe's shot 48.1% from the field, 50% from downtown and went 0-2 from the free throw line. Husson countered by shooting 46.9% from the floor and 20% from three-point range. The Eagles did not go to the line in the opening 20 minutes.

As it played out, Petzy put the Monks on top to stay when he drilled a three-pointer 31 seconds into the second half. His shot from beyond the arc put the hosts up by one and Clark Noonan (Bangor, ME) lifted his team to a three-point advantage with a jump shot at the 18:51 mark.

Although St. Joe's did not trail for the remainder of the contest, the hosts would not enjoy a comfortable cushion until midway through the second period. Leading by three, 43-40, after Zaharchuk connected on a free throw, the Monks opened up a 9-2 run that was capped by a Julio Vazquez (Waterbury, CT) fastbreak layup at the 12:02 mark. The Eagles struck back with four quick points, but Saint Joseph's managed to net six over a minute span with the help of two Husson turnovers to secure a double-digit lead that would not be relinquished.

The Monks went on to secure a game-high 16-point lead, 68-52, when Petzy drained his fifth trifecta of the evening with 3:50 remaining.

For St. Joe's, O'Brien and Jobin both netted nine points, Ray added eight with four boards and Vazquez dealt seven dimes.

Saint Joseph's shot 47.4% (27-57) overall, 43.8% (7-16) from three-point distance, and 64.3% (9-14) from the FT line. Husson shot 37.5% (21-56) from the floor, 23.5% (4-17) from beyond the arc, and 70-6% (12-17) from the charity stripe.

The Eagles held a 38-26 advantage in rebounds while both teams posted 17 assists on the evening.

With the win, St. Joe's improves to 35-44 in the history of the series with Husson University and brings a two-game losing streak at the hands of the Eagles to a halt.

The Monks are 4-0 for the first time under the watch of ninth-year Head Coach Rob Sanicola and are undefeated through four games for the first time since the 1998-99 season, which was Sanicola's senior season. St. Joe's began that year with a program-record 23 consecutive victories and went 26-3 overall en route to making a national tournament appearance.

Through four contests, Saint Joseph's has not allowed more than 68 points in a single game. Never before in program history have the Monks opened a season by holding opponents to fewer than 70 points in four straight games.

Saint Joseph's will host Albertus Magnus College – the 2011-12 GNAC Preseason Poll favorite – in what will be the conference-opener for both teams this Saturday at 3:00 PM. Husson also opens conference play this weekend and will host North Atlantic Conference rival Maine Maritime Academy at 1:00 PM.