Lasers Falter in Overtime, Drop 96-92 Contest to Monks; Bertanza Shatters Points Record with 55
STANDISH, ME- St. Joseph's College of Maine swept the season series against Lasell College men's basketball on Saturday afternoon with a 96-92 overtime victory at the Alfond Center. Lasell's sophomore guard Sean Bertanza (Seymour, CT) put in an unbelievable 55 point performance to shatter Lasell's all-time single-game scoring record, but it was not enough to overcome the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) leaders.
Bertanza was unstoppable converting on 22-of-32 attempts, including 5-of-7 from downtown to set a new field-goals-made record for Lasell in addition to the points record. His points and field goal totals both rank as the second-most in a GNAC men's basketball tilt.
It took the combined efforts of St. Joseph's Tyler Kelley (Saco, ME) and Zach O'Brien (Schenectady, NY) to outscore Bertanza. Kelley and O'Brien secured 58 points collectively for the Monks, with Kelley notching 31 and O'Brien adding 27. Clark Noonan (Bangor, ME) and Chris Petzy (Kensington, NH) also factored in with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Noonan led all players on the glass with nine rebounds.
Lasell's leading scorer Javon Williams (Mattapan, MA) was held to just six shots in the conference battle, finishing with 10 points. However, the junior forward found other ways to create offense for the Lasers as he handed out a game-high seven assists, adding seven boards, two steals, and a block. Richie King (Carver, MA) recorded 12 points and four assists in the scuffle.
The Monks trailed through the majority the first half, leaving Lasell in command of the scoreboard, 44-31, at intermission. St. Joseph's shot just 37.9% from the field, 33.3% from three-point range, and 70% from the line before the break, while Lasell produced 58.6% from the floor, 30% from the arc, and 100% from the stripe.
St. Joseph's made adjustments at half time which led to a 10-0 surge to start the second half, closing the gap to three, 44-41, by 19:15. Kelley gave the hosts their first lead since the start of the contest at the 15:40 mark, draining a three to pull ahead, 50-48.
The lead changed multiple times and the score knotted on several occasions in the final 15 minutes of regulation. St. Joseph's managed a seven-point lead (75-68) after a late 10-4 campaign with 3:32 to go, but Lasell answered with a similar stretch (10-3) over the final minutes to end regulation in a 78-78 stalemate. Bertanza scored eight of the Lasers final 10 points, including a pressured three-point conversion with four seconds on the clock to force the extra session.
Bertanza's phenomenal play did not waiver through the overtime frame, as he tallied nine of the Lasers' 14 total points in the session. The Monks, however, were able to seal the game with clutch free throws down the stretch from Kelley, going 6-for-6 from the charity stripe to decide the outcome.
Lasell shot 59.7% (37-62) from the field, 41.2% (7-17) from distance, and 78.6% from the foul line throughout the game in a losing effort. The Monks recuperated in the second half to improve to a final field goal percentage of 53% (35-66) while hitting 53.8% (7-13) from downtown and 76% (19-25) from the stripe. The hosts also established a 31-27 advantage on the glass.
Bertanza's single-game record comes just four days after Williams had just set a new school record of 45 points in a game at Emerson College, on February 8th. The previous all time record for field goals in a contest was set at 16 and was held simultaneously by two players, Williams (vs. Johnson & Wales, 02/05/2011) and Lasell's all-time leading scorer Jose Guitian (vs. Suffolk, 02/02/2008). Bertanza's previous career-high was 30 points against Norwich University, on February 3rd.
The record for most points scored in an NCAA DIII contest is held by Jeff Clement, who scored 77 for Grinnell against Illinois College on February 18th, 1998. The record for most field goals made in a game is 29, a total shared by Ryan Hodges (Cal Lutheran, Jan. 15, 2005) and Shannon Lily (Bishop, Jan. 31, 1998).
With the win, St. Joseph's improves to 5-6 in the history of the series with Lasell College, and betters their overall record to 16-7 this season, 12-3 in the GNAC. Lasell, who has fallen in both of their overtime contests this season, currently stands at a 5-17 overall and 4-11 conference slate.
Lasell is set to host Mount Ida College on Tuesday, February 15th, at 8:00 p.m. in another GNAC tussle.