When and Where: November 16, 2016 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 74, Saint Anselm College 68
Records: SNHU 1-0 (1-0 Northeast-10), Saint Anselm 0-1 (0-1 Northeast-10)
Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) racked up a career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team to a 74-68 victory over late-charging Saint Anselm College on Wednesday evening at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Gilligan shot 10-for-14 from the floor, including 1-for-1 from deep, and 3-for-5 at the line, while matching his career high with 12 rebounds. Junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) netted 14 points (6-15 FG, 2-4 3-FG) and grabbed three rebounds in his first game in a Penmen uniform, while redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) posted 13 points (3-11 FG, 7-11 FT), four rebounds and two blocks.
Taylor Fortin paced the Hawks with 18 points and six rebounds.
With the score tied at 12 just over six minutes into the contest, a Walters layup sparked a 6-0 run that put the Penmen on top, 18-12, with 12:19 remaining in the opening half. A Fortin 3-pointer then triggered a 7-0 spurt that gave Saint Anselm the lead at 19-18 with 10:54 to play, but Gilligan countered with seven straight points to give Southern New Hampshire a 25-19 lead with 7:39 to play.
With the gap at five later in the frame, a layup by senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) and a Gilligan trey put the Penmen up by an even 10 at 37-27 with 2:25 on the clock. SNHU would carry a 40-30 lead into the break.
Just over two minutes into the second stanza, Saint Anselm ripped off a 10-2 run – with six points from Tim Guers – to slash its deficit to 44-42 with 14:50 remaining. Southern New Hampshire answered with seven straight points, however, to take a 51-42 lead with 14:00 to go.
The margin was still nine at 66-57 with just over four minutes to play when an 11-3 rush – with four points each from Chris Braley and Guers – pulled Saint Anselm to within one at 69-68 with 46 seconds left. SNHU would take advantage of a pair of Saint Anselm misses by going 5-for-6 at the line down the stretch to seal it.
Harris narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine points (3-8 FG, 1-4 3-FG, 2-2 FT) and nine rebounds, while fellow senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) tallied eight points (3-7 FG, 2-2 FT), five assists and a pair of rebounds. Freshman Eamonn Joyce (Medford, Mass.) chipped in six points (3-3 FG) and three boards.
-The Penmen capture their season opener for the 10th straight year.
-The double-double was the sixth of his career for Gilligan, who surpassed his previous career high of 23 points he scored against Concordia (N.Y.) College on Jan. 4 of last season.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Saint Anselm, 46.7 percent (28-60) to 36.4 percent (24-66), including 36.4 percent (4-11) to 25.9 percent (7-27) from beyond the arc.
-The Penmen won the glass (41-37) and paint (42-30), while the Hawks featured a better assist-to-turnover ratio (13/12-5/14) en route to a 24-18 advantage in points off turnovers.
-A ceremony was held before the game in which a new banner to commemorate head coach Stan Spirou's 600th career victory was unveiled in the Fieldhouse.
-Southern New Hampshire picks up a point in the Queen City Cup standings and now leads, 14-6, in the battle for Manchester supremacy.
The Penmen return to action Saturday, Nov. 19 (1 p.m.) when they play host to the University of Bridgeport at the Fieldhouse.
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