||This paper presents a matching method for 3D shapes, which comprises a new technique for surface sampling and two algorithms for matching 3D shapes based on point-based statistical shape descriptors. Our sampling technique is based on critical points of the eigenfunctions related to the smaller eigenvalues of the Laplace-Beltrami operator. These critical points are invariant to isometries and are used as anchor points of a sampling technique, which extends the farthest point sampling by using statistical criteria for controlling the density and number of reference points. Once a set of reference points has been computed, for each of them we construct a point-based statistical descriptor (PSSD, for short) of the input surface. This descriptor incorporates an approximation of the geodesic shape distribution and other geometric information describing the surface at that point. Then, the dissimilarity between two surfaces is computed by comparing the corresponding sets of PSSDs with bipartite graph matching or measuring the L1-distance between the reordered feature vectors of a proximity graph. Here, the reordering is given by the Fiedler vector of a Laplacian matrix associated to the proximity graph. Our tests have shown that both approaches are suitable for online retrieval of deformed objects and our sampling strategy improves the retrieval performances of isometry-invariant matching methods. Finally, the approach based on the Fiedler vector is faster than using the bipartite graph matching and it has a similar retrieval effectiveness.