NEWTON, Mass. – Sophomore Liam Jacobs (Plainfield, Conn.) hit the game-winning lay-up with one second remaining Tuesday evening as Lasell College upset Saint Joseph's College of Maine, 98-97, in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opener for both schools at the Lasell Athletic Center.
The Lasers snapped the Monks' nine-game winning streak, as Lasell moves to 3-10 overall (1-0 GNAC) and Saint Joe's to 10-3 (0-1 GNAC).
Lasell got a career-high 39 points from junior Stefan Masciarelli (Northbridge, Mass.) and a career-best 27 points from sophomore Kevin Nunez (Dorchester, Mass.). Masciarelli made 15-of-28 shots, including 6-of-10 from three-point range, while adding eight rebounds, six assists and three steals, while Nunez was good on 12-of-25 attempts with a team-high nine rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot.
St. Joe's had five players score in double figures. Senior Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) led the way with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while sophomore Jack Casale (Portland, Maine) posted his fifth double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Darian Berry (Rochester, N.H.) contributed 14 points, Marc Corey (Londonderry, N.H.) added 13, and freshman David Keohan (West Newfield, Maine) chipped in with 14 points off the bench.
Lasell shot a season-high 51.9 percent from the field (40-of-77), including 41.7 percent from three-point range, while the Monks converted 50.7 percent of their shots (36-of-69), including 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from beyond the arc.
In a game featuring 11 lead changes and six tie scores, Saint Joseph's seemed to be in control late and held a 91-84 advantage after Mileikis made a layup with 4:25 on the clock. The Lasers proceeded to make it a one-point game (93-92) with an 8-2 run, which was capped by a Joe O'Brien (Saugus, Mass.) field goal at the 2:04 mark.
Mileikis hit a pair of freebies with 25 seconds left to provide his team with a 97-94 lead, but Masciarelli converted a layup 11 seconds later to make it a 97-96 game. After a missed free throw attempt on the front end of a 1-and-1, the Lasers rushed downcourt where Nunez missed a jumper with four seconds remaining, but Jacobs pulled down the offensive rebound and scored from under the rim to lift his team to the thrilling victory.
Lasell led by as much as eight points three times midway through the first half, but the Monks rallied with a 16-7 run to take a 40-39 lead with four minutes to go, and pulled ahead 51-44 at the break. The Lasers opened the second half with a 10-0 sure to regain the lead, keyed by back-to-back threes by Masciarelli. The visitors pulled ahead by as much as eight points later in the half, but couldn't put away the determined Lasers.
Lasell will look to build some momentum on Thursday with a GNAC contest at Rivier University (6:00 p.m.). Saint Joseph's will host GNAC-rival Albertus Magnus College on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
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