BOSTON – Senior Jake Meister set a career-high with 28 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead a well-balanced Suffolk men's basketball team to its third GNAC win of the season, topping Norwich, 88-58, at Regan Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
The senior from Madison, New Jersey added five boards and three assists to his impressive point performance. Meister's lights out performance sparked a frenzy of double digit scores for Suffolk, who snapped an eight-game skid and improved to 5-16 on the season and 3-11 in conference contests. Matt Duquette was right behind Meister as the junior forward recorded 20 points on a 9-of-11 showing from the floor. Duquette was on the verge of a double-double with eight rebounds to go along with one swat and one takeaway. Senior Caleb Unni rounded out the Rams in double-figures with 13 points and the senior matched Duquette in rebounds with eight.
Norwich, who was led by Ryan Booth's 10 points, dipped to 6-14 overall and 3-10 in the conference.
Norwich took the lead right off the tip, but would not stay out in front for long. Duquette got the ball rolling for the Rams with back-to-back buckets, before the score tied for the second and last time of the half at 4-all.
Meister lit up, going 5-of-5 over the next five possessions and Suffolk jumped ahead 16-11 at 14:49. Meister's seventh hoop of the day turned into a traditional and-1 when he converted on the freebie to put the blue-and-gold up, 27-14.
Building off Meister's offensive outpour, Suffolk's energy was high and the Rams were clicking on both ends of the hardwood. The 10-point lead quickly changed to 20-plus on a hoop from Duquette and a triple from Unni gave the hosts their largest lead of the half, 49-23, with 1:28 remaining. The Cadets would score the final four points of the half and Suffolk would take a 49-27 advantage into the intermission.
Both Meister and Duquette went 7-of-9 from the floor over the first 20 minutes to help Suffolk put together a 59.4 connection rate (19-32) from the field, 38.5 percent (5-13) from deep and 85.7 percent (6-7) from the charity stripe. Meister led all scorers with 21 first-half points to go along with four rebounds and two assists with Duquette tallying 14 points, four boards and one swat.
Norwich shot 34.5 percent (10-29) from the floor in the first frame and just 12.5 percent from long distance. Chibuzor Ogbue paced the Cadets with seven points and three rebounds.
Suffolk put together a 7-0 stretch, which included Meister's fourth triple, to open the frame and force a Norwich timeout. The Rams did not let up and took their largest lead of the day of 41 at 6:36 and never looked back to roll to the 88-58 final.
Suffolk returns to action Tuesday night at Mount Ida at 5 p.m.