STANDISH, ME – Anna Maria College (8-7, 6-2 GNAC) topped Saint Joseph's (9-6, 5-4 GNAC), 75-61, in a rematch of a 2012 GNAC Tournament semifinal contest at the Harold Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Monks' only lead of the afternoon came in the opening minutes when sophomore guard Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, Maine) made his first of six three-pointers to lift his team to a 3-0 edge 43 seconds after tip-off. The visiting AMCATS, who shot 64.3% in the first half and 58.8% for the game, managed to score 17 of the contest's following 18 points with the help of an 8-9 effort from the floor over the next seven minutes and held a 17-4 cushion after freshman guard Tyler Delorey (Worcester, Mass.) hit a mid-range jumper at the 12:43 mark.
Saint Joseph's was able to cut the deficit down to six points (25-19) when senior Julio Vazquez (Waterbury, Conn.) hit a jumper just over six minutes later, but Anna Maria answered with a 16-4 outburst and led by 18 (41-23) with 2:25 remaining in the opening stanza.
Junior forward Nicholas Jobin (Westbrook, Maine) made a pair of free throws 2:03 before the break and Medeiros sank a three 39 seconds later to make it a 41-28 score in favor of the AMCATS heading into intermission.
Anna Maria senior swingman Anthony Click (Springfield, Mass.) scored 11 to lead all first-half scorers while Jobin netted seven to pace the hosts in the opening frame.
The second stanza started poorly for the Royal Blue, as Anna Maria junior guard Joseph Barillo (Dania Beach, Fla.) outscored the hosts by a 10-3 margin with a trio of trifectas and a FT conversion to lift his squad to a 51-31 lead just three minutes into the latter period.
Despite the discouraging numbers on the scoreboard and the AMCATS can't-miss shooting performance, the Monks showed they had some fight in them with an impressive 16-0 run over the next five minutes to cut the deficit down to a manageable 51-47 tally. Medeiros and Simonds drained a pair of threes apiece during the encouraging SJC stretch.
A thrilling comeback story was not in the cards however, as Anna Maria turned to senior captain Javier Bristol (Haverhill, Mass.), who scored three buckets in the paint and made a free throw in a matter of 40 seconds, to ratchet their lead up to 58-47 with 11:24 left to play.
The game remained in reach over the following minutes, as Medeiros dropped a three-pointer at the 9:31 mark to make it a 60-52 contest, but the AMCATS would post yet another scoring run – this time a 13-4 outburst over the next five minutes – to all but put the game away.
For the Monks, Simonds went 6-13 from downtown and scored 18 points, Jobin contributed nine points and five boards and freshman guard Jerome Diggs (Centreville, Va.) left the bench to tally seven points and four assists in the losing bid.
For the AMCATS, Click tallied 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Barillo was perfect (4-4) from beyond the arc and netted 17, Brad Peterson (North Kingstown, R.I.) added 13 points and five caroms, and Delorey chipped in 12 points and four boards on the afternoon.
Saint Joseph's shot 45.8% (22-48) overall, 37.9% (11-29) from downtown and 54.5% (6-11) from the FT line while Anna Maria shot 58.8% (30-51) from the floor, 44.4% (4-9) from three-point distance and 78.6% (11-14) from the charity stripe.
The AMCATS held a considerable 36-16 advantage – including a 22-8 first-half effort - in points in the paint and outscored the Monks' bench by an 18-11 margin.
With the result, Saint Joseph's falls to 6-4 in the history of the series with Anna Maria College, which ended the Monks' 2012 campaign with an upset 60-59 GNAC tourney semifinal win on February 23rd. The AMCATS have now defeated the Monks in all four meetings since joining the GNAC a year ago and is the first GNAC foe to top the Royal Blue in four straight games since Emerson College tipped Saint Joseph's on four occasions during the 2008 and 2009 calendar years.
Monday looks to be an important day for both of these programs, as Saint Joseph's hosts Johnson & Wales University at 7:30 PM and Anna Maria faces reigning GNAC Champion Albertus Magnus College at home at 1:00 PM on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Release courtesy of Saint Joseph's Sports Information Department