MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J.) led four Southern New Hampshire University players in double figures with 19 points as the Penmen downed Assumption College 71-62 in Northeast-10 men's basketball Tuesday night at the SNHU Fieldhouse. The Penmen won their fourth straight to improve to 15-10 and 12-9 in the NE-10, while the Greyhounds see their season come to a close at 7-19 and 5-16 in the league.
The win clinches the No. 4 seed in the NE-10's Northeast Division for SNHU, and as a result, the Penmen will host a Northeast-10 Championship first round game on Friday, February 28. Southern New Hampshire will entertain Southwest Division No. 5 seed American International College (9-18, 6-14) in a 7:00 contest at the SNHU Fieldhouse. The Penmen defeated the Yellow Jackets 77-60 in the two teams' lone meeting in Manchester on January 11. Southern New Hampshire will be looking to defend its' NE-10 tournament title of a season ago.
Sanders finished 7-9 from the floor and 2-4 behind the arc while also handing out five assists. Mike Stys (Hooksett, N.H.) went 3-4 from three-point land and totaled 16 points, while Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del.) had 14 points and three blocked shots. CJ Marriro (Boston, Mass.) contributed 11 points and six rebounds.
Marcus Murray led all scorers with 20 points and seven assists for Assumption, which also got 14 points from Chris Fitzgerald, as Fitzgerald knocked down four three-pointers.
Assumption led 32-29 at halftime and 36-31 early in the second half before an 11-0 SNHU run capped by a Bonsignore three gave the hosts a 42-36 lead with 14:21 to go. The Greyhounds countered with 10 straight points of their own, and a Fitzgerald three with 11:27 on the clock put the guests on top 46-42. A 5-0 Penmen spurt capped by a Stys three gave SNHU a 47-46 lead with 8:32 to go.
The two teams traded the lead twice before a Marriro basket that kicked off a 7-0 run put the Penmen on top for good, 51-50, with 6:24 left. A Sanders layup followed by a Bonsignore three made it a 56-50 lead with just over five minutes left. Assumption cut the lead to three twice, the last time on a Murray three-point play with 3:21 to go, and to four, 66-62, on a Jimmy Zenevitch layup with 53 seconds to go, but SNHU went 5-6 at the free throw line in the final minute to secure the victory.
Southern New Hampshire used an early 14-0 run to build a 16-5 lead nine minutes into the game, and held a 25-13 lead with 6:50 to play following a Sanders three that capped a 7-0 spurt. SNHU led 29-25 with 2:14 left when the Hounds scored the final seven points of the half and a Fitzgerald three as time ran out put Assumption on top 32-29 at intermission.
The Penmen shot 54.2% in the second half and 48.9% for the game while limiting Assumption to 44.7% shooting for the contest. Southern New Hampshire was 9-18 behind the arc and went 16-25 at the free throw line, while the Greyhounds shot 47.1% (8-17) from long range and 12-19 at the charity stripe. SNHU outrebounded Assumption, the NE-10's No. 2 team in rebound margin (+5.4) 31-30 on the evening.
Prior to the game, seniors Marriro, Stys and Nikola Canic (Belgrade, Serbia) were honored for Senior Night as they played in their final regular season home contest.
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Seniors (L-R) Mike Stys, Nikola Canic and CJ Marriro were honored prior to Tuesday nights game.