STANDISH — St. Joseph’s fell behind early and never recovered, losing 75-70 Tuesday night against Lasell in the quarterfinals of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament.

The third-ranked Monks trailed by 11 at halftime and, despite cutting the deficit to two points four times in the second half, couldn’t catch the sixth-seeded Lasers.

St. Joseph’s finished 19-7 while Lasell improved to 11-15 and advanced to the conference semifinals to face No. 2 Emerson on Thursday.

Justin Harris led the Lasers with 21 points, with three others scoring in double figures.

Rashon Jones and Zach O’Brien were the only players in double figures for the Monks with 13 points apiece.

The Monks dug themselves into a big hole in the first half, trailing 42-31. Then when they got it close in the second half, they couldn’t come up with the key basket or defensive play.

”We needed to get a big stop and we couldn’t,” said St. Joseph’s Coach Rob Sanicola. ”We didn’t get a basket to give us the confidence we needed. We were a little bit out of sync,”

After pulling within 68-65 after two free throws by Alberto Rue, the Monks saw their defensive effort go unrewarded when Dominik Orlow hit a 3-pointer from the corner as the shot clock was winding down.

O’Brien scored on a drive to cut it to 71-67 and the Monks called a timeout with 47 seconds left. Lasell then lost the ball at its end, giving the Monks an opening.

They failed to get off a shot against Lasell’s strong defense and then lost possession when they tossed the ball into the backcourt.

Javon Williams made two free throws for Lasell with 24 seconds left, and Tyler Kelley had his 3-point shot blocked at the other end.

The Monks’ last chance came when O’Brien hit a 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds left to cut it to 73-70 after they missed on three previous 3-point attempts.

Lance Theard sealed Lasell’s win with two free throws with 3.6 seconds left.

It was a disappointing ending for the defending-champ Monks, who were 14-4 in the conference during the regular season

”We gave up too many easy baskets,” said Kelley, a junior who played at Thornton Academy. ”We didn’t box out and we didn’t play team defense.”

Sanicola agreed.

”In the first half, we gave up 30 points on layups,” he said. ”That’s not who we are. They were getting easy baskets.”

The Monks were a different team at the start of the second half. They got three steals, turning them into layups during a 7-2 spurt that forced a Lasell timeout. Moments later, a 6-0 run pulled St. Joseph’s within two points, and it stayed close the rest of the way.

”St. Joe’s is a good team,” said Lasell Coach Aaron Galetta. ”We made it a point of emphasis to get off to a good start.

”We knew St. Joe’s would make a run. We stayed composed in the second half.”

Lasell was 9 of 15 from 3-point range while the Monks were only 5 of 20.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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