Men’s Basketball Loses Lead, but Answers Bell to Down Bridgeport, 85-72

BOX SCORE
RAPID REACTION WITH HEAD COACH STAN SPIROU

When and Where: November 19, 2016 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score:
Southern New Hampshire University 85, University of Bridgeport 72
Records:
SNHU 2-0, Bridgeport 2-1

Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) and senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) each registered double-doubles to lead the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team to an 85-72 victory against the University of Bridgeport on Saturday afternoon at the SNHU Fieldhouse.

Walters posted 25 points (9-19 FG, 3-5 3-FG, 4-5 FT), 15 rebounds and two assists, while Gilligan notched his second straight double-double with 17 points (6-12 FG, 5-5 FT), 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) netted 17 points (6-11 FG, 1-3 3-FG, 4-4 FT) to go along four rebounds and four assists, with senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) tallying 15 points (3-6 FG, 2-4 3-FG, 7-7 FT), four boards and two helpers.

Sam Joseph led Bridgeport with 25 points, while Rakim Lesane added 18 off the bench.

Leading 9-8 early on, Southern New Hampshire extended its lead to 16-8 just under four minutes into the opening half on a 7-0 run that was highlighted by a 3-pointer from Walters, which was sandwiched by buckets from Floras and Gilligan.

After Bridgeport had climbed to within four under two minutes later, a layup from freshman Eamonn Joyce (Medford, Mass.) touched off a 16-3 rush that featured seven points from Walters and ballooned the Penmen lead to 29-15 with just under nine minutes remaining in the stanza.

The Purple Knights responded with an 11-3 counter-run – with four points from Kyle Benjamin and three from Lesane – to trim their deficit to 32-26 at the 5:42 mark. SNHU would answer with eight straight points from four different scorers to run the lead back to 14 at 40-26 and eventually take a 47-32 advantage into the break. Walters had reached double-double status at the half with 12 points and 10 boards.

A Gilligan three-point play to open the second-half scoring pushed the Southern New Hampshire lead to a game-high 18 at 50-32 just a half-minute in. Later in the frame, however, seven points from Joseph buoyed an 18-2 rush that brought Bridgeport all the way back and knotted the game at 57 with 11:28 remaining. During the stretch, the Purple Knights held advantages in both points off turnovers (9-0) and fast break points (12-0).

With the game still tied nearly three minutes later, the Penmen hit back with an 11-2 run that opened up a 70-61 lead with 6:09 left. Walters contributed seven points during the stretch, while Floras, whose layup at 8:36 gave SNHU the lead for good at 61-59, chipped in four.

The Purple Knights would close to within six, but Southern New Hampshire put it away with a 12-2 run that was fueled by six points from Harris, who drained a huge left-corner 3-pointer with 1:52 left, to expand the lead to 84-68 with 1:13 to go.

Senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) chimed in with seven points (3-6 FG, 1-1 3-FG), three assists, two rebounds and a monster rejection.

Notes:
-The Penmen begin the season 2-0 for the third straight year.
-The double-double was the 13th of Walters' career, while it was the seventh for Gilligan.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Bridgeport, 45.9 percent (28-61) to 43.9 percent (29-66), including 35 percent (7-20) to 20 percent (4-20) from beyond the arc, while the Purple Knights held a 56.7 percent (17-30) to 43.3 percent (13-30) shooting advantage in the second stanza.
-SNHU cleaned up at the line, knocking down its first 22 attempts before finishing 22-for-23 (95.7%). Bridgeport was just 10 of 14 (71.4%) from the stripe.
-The Penmen owned the glass (42-30) and featured a slightly better assist-to-turnover ratio (16/17-11/13), while Bridgeport held advantages in the paint (48-38) and in second chance points (16-6).

Up Next:
The Penmen return to action Tuesday, Nov. 22 (7:30 p.m.) when they resume Northeast-10 play by hosting Franklin Pierce University at the Fieldhouse.

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