PAXTON, Mass. (02.21.13) –Senior Anthony Click (Springfield, MA) dropped a game-high 25 points, including six three-pointers, to spark the #1 seed Anna Maria College men's basketball team to an 75-63 victory over #5 Saint Joseph's College during the semifinal round of The Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament at The Fuller Activities Center on Thursday night. The AMCATS are now 20-7 on the season and will advance to their second straight Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon; they will host #2 Albertus Magnus College at 2:00 pm.
In the process of scoring his 25 points, Click topped 1,700 points for his collegiate career. He was on fire in the second half, hitting 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. Senior Javier Bristol (Haverhill, MA) also played well, scoring 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor while leading the AMCATS with six rebounds, three assists and four steals. Junior Joseph Barillo (Dania Beach, FLA) also notched 10 points, while sophomore Hugh Daye (Worcester, MA) contributed 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals off the bench.
The Monks were led by junior Steve Simonds (Steep Falls, ME) scoring a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including five three pointers, while teammate Matthew Medeiros (Westport, MA) added 16 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.
The two teams matched up evenly through the opening ten minutes of the game, with the AMCATS clinging to a two-point lead at 17-15. Post grad Brad Peterson (North Kingstown, RI) converted a three-point play in the paint and the AMCATS had their biggest lead of the first half at 20-15. The Monks responded with a jumper by Medeiros and a trey from Simonds to even the score at 20 with just under seven minutes remaining in the half.
The Monks lead swelled to 29-24 after another Medeiros 3-pointer, however a pair of Peterson shots from the charity stripe and the AMCATS had cut the deficit to 31-28 heading into intermission.
Simonds led all first half scores with 12 points, and the Monks held a healthy 22-11 advantage on the boards. Anna Maria shot a dismal 34.4% from the field compared to the Monks' 50.0% from the floor in the first stanza.
The Monks opened the second half with a 9-6 run to push the lead to 40-34 at the 16 minute mark. That's when AMCATS' Anthony Click took over, he drained the first of his six threes on the AMCATS next possession, igniting a 16-3 run for the hosts. Over the next 4:17, Anna Maria would go from six points down to a seven point advantage with Click connecting on three more trifectas and adding an assist to once again send #AMCATNation into a frenzy.
Saint Joseph's guard Jordan Tripp would swish a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 5 points with 10 minute to play but it would be as close as the Monks would get the rest of the night. Anna Maria rolled off a 19-10 run capped by Click's last three of the night, to drive the score to 72-55 with three minutes left on the clock and the AMCATS would cruise to the 75-63 victory.
The Monks finish their season at 17-10, while the AMCATS consecutive win streak now stands at 17 games. The AMCATS are currently tied with Amherst College for the longest current winning streak in NCAA Division III men's basketball.
Anna Maria will host Albertus Magnus College in the GNAC Championship at 2:00 pm on Saturday afternoon.