NEWTON, Mass. - The Lasell College men's basketball team nearly recovered from a 24-point deficit late in the first half Saturday afternoon, but the Monks of Saint Joseph's College of Maine topped the Lasers 83-80 loss in the Athletic Center.
Lasell drops to 10-7 on the season and 7-3 in GNAC play with its first home loss this season, while St. Joe's passes the .500 mark at 9-8 overall and 6-3 in conference games with its second straight victory.
Senior guard Armin Omanovic (Wilkesboro, N.C.) paced the Lasers with 34 points on 8-of-21 shooting, scoring his 1,000th point in a Lasers uniform late in the second half. Omanovic also added five assists and four rebounds, while sophomore Tim Blair (Newington, Conn.) scored well above his season average with 22 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Senior guard John Crawley (Fitchburg, Mass.) led SJC with 18 points, while junior Quinn Richardson-Newton (Saco, Maine) added 11 points and a team-high seven boards. Freshman Ryan Lavallee (Carver, Mass.) chipped in with ten points.
Senior Yordan Villalon (Miami, Fla.) and Blair got Lasell off to a 5-0 start, but the visitors quickly charged back with 15 of the next 18 points. Junior Derek McMahon's (Hatfield, Mass.) three at the 17:19 marker was the Lasers' only basket in that stretch as SJC turned the five-point deficit into a 15-8 lead in about four minutes as freshman Mario Nery (Bronx, N.Y.) finished the run with the Monks' third triple.
The visiting Monks shot 52.8 percent from the field and hit seven threes in the first half alone. Lavallee increased SJC's lead with a pair of threes midway through the stanza, while a mini 5-0 run that Nery ended with a layup lifted the Monks to a 24-point lead, their largest of the night, with 2:34 to play.
Lasell started to turn the table with seven straight points to open the second half, but Richardson-Newton put a quick halt to the Lasers' run, scoring a layup and then two free throws after forcing a turnover with 16:11 left in regulation.
Lasell clawed its way back again midway through the second half as Blair scored nine straight points and Omanovic hit a three with 9:15 to play, closing the score to 68-56. The teams traded baskets for several minutes before the Lasers made their final push and moved within one as Omanovic hit a layup and hit a free throw that followed, but Nery hit a pair of free throws thereafter to close the scoring and lift the visitors to victory.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday, January 25 at 6:00 p.m. as the Lasers head across town to Mount Ida for a GNAC matchup, while the Monks return home to host Norwich.
COURTESY OF LASELL COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION
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.