MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J.) matched his season high with 21 points as a hot shooting night by Southern New Hampshire University pushed it past Bentley University 81-62 in Northeast-10 men's basketball Wednesday night at the SNHU Fieldhouse. The Penmen upped their record to 13-10 and 10-9 in the NE-10, while the Falcons are now 16-9 and 10-9 in the league.
The win, coupled with Merrimack College's loss to Saint Anselm College, assures the Penmen a berth in the 10-team Northeast-10 Championship that begins next Friday. The win also moves SNHU into a tie for fourth with Bentley in the Northeast Division.
Sanders scored 21 points for the fifth time this season, going 8-10 from the floor and 3-5 from three-point land. He led four Penmen in double figures. Aleksandar Dobrovic (Podgorica, Montenegro) finished with 13 points on 4-7 shooting, while Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del.) and Mike Stys (Hooksett, N.H.) each made both of their three-point attempts and added 10 points apiece. Bonsignore added six rebounds and three blocked shots.
As a team, SNHU shot 66.7% (10-15) from three-point land and 59.6% (28-47) from the floor in the contest. In the second half the Penmen were 11-15 from the floor (73.3%) and made three of their four three-point attempts.
Bentley was led by Keegan Hyland who had 21 points on 8-14 shooting, while Jasper Grassa totaled 13 points and Alex Furness 10. Tyler McFarland, the NE-10's fourth-leading scorer at 18.8 points per game entering the contest while shooting over 50% from the floor, was held to six points on 3-7 shooting.
Southern New Hampshire never trailed and opened up a 17-5 lead six minutes into the game following a pair of free throws by Dobrovic. The Penmen extended the lead to 18, 38-20, on a Bonsignore three with 7:12 left in the frame. Bentley used a 13-3 lead to cut the lead with eight on an Alex Furness basket with 27 seconds to go, but a Sanders three as time wound down gave SNHU a 44-33 lead heading into intermission.
The guests opened the second half by scoring 11 of the first 17 points to cut the SNHU lead to six, 50-44, with 16:14 to go following a Hyland three. Bentley got no closer, and the decisive run was a 15-2 burst capped by a Sanders basket with 4:40 remaining that put the Penmen on top 77-56. Bentley had just two field goals and scored just eight points over the final 9:21 as the hosts led by as many as 23 down the stretch.
Bentley shot 40.7% from the floor and 7-20 behind the arc. Southern New Hampshire took four more trips to the free throw line and were 15-21, while the Falcons were 11-17 from the stripe. The Penmen held a 28-27 rebounding advantage.
Southern New Hampshire travels to Saint Michael's College on Saturday for a 3:30 contest, before closing out the regular season on Tuesday, February 25, when the Penmen play host to Assumption College for Senior Night. The game against the Greyhounds is slated for a 7:30 tip and can be heard on WGIR 610 AM.
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