#25 Men’s Basketball Mounts Comeback, Staves off Assumption, 72-71

BOX SCORE

When and Where: November 30, 2016 – Worcester, Mass. (Laska Gymnasium)
Score:
Southern New Hampshire University 72, Assumption College 71
Records:
SNHU 5-0 (3-0 NE-10), Assumption 2-4 (2-2 NE-10)

Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) poured in a game-high 27 points as the 25th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team rallied and then held off Assumption College, 72-71, Wednesday evening at Laska Gymnasium.

Walters was 7-for-19 from the floor and 13-for-14 at the stripe, while recording nine rebounds, a career-high five steals and four assists. Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) posted 15 points (6-11 FG, 2-5 3-FG, 1-2 FT) and four boards, with classmate Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) scoring in double figures for the third straight game with 10 points (4-8 FG, 1-2 3-FG, 1-4 FT).

Karl Ziegler paced the Greyhounds with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Marcus Murray added 18.

Southern New Hampshire trailed by eight less than a minute into the second half when a 9-0 burst – with four points from Gilligan and three from Walters – gave the Penmen their first lead in nearly 21 minutes of game action at 42-41 with 17:45 remaining. Five lead changes and a tie then ensued before six straight points opened up a 56-52 advantage for SNHU with 10:57 to play.

Assumption would get as close as two, but a Walters bucket and a free throw from junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) later in the stanza gave Southern New Hampshire its largest lead of the night at 70-63 with 1:22 on the clock.

The Greyhounds would not go away, however, as six straight free throws from Murray – and three straight misses from the Penmen – slashed the Assumption deficit to 70-69 with 14 seconds left. Walters then sank a pair at the line before a potential game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark and Ziegler put it back before the buzzer to reduce the margin to one.

Floras netted eight points (3-11 FG, 1-5 3-FG, 1-3 FT) and reeled in three rebounds.

After senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, Ziegler answered with a bucket and then Declan Soukup would knock down a 3 and the Penmen would not lead again in the first half. A Floras triple would bring SNHU within one at 14-13 with 13:50 remaining, but five points from Damien Rance would buoy a 13-2 stretch that extended the Assumption lead to 27-15 at the 8:35 mark.

With the margin still 12 two minutes later, a Walters dunk sparked a 7-0 spurt that slashed the Southern New Hampshire deficit to 31-26 with 5:14 on the clock. Walters contributed four points during the run. The Penmen would not get closer than five and went into the locker room trailing, 37-31.

Freshman Eamonn Joyce (Medford, Mass.) chipped in seven points (1-3 FG, 5-7 FT) and five boards, while Harris added four points (1-5 FG, 1-4 3-FG, 1-2 FT) and six rebounds.

Notes:
-The Penmen, who entered the NABC Division II Rankings at No. 25 for the first time since Jan. 25, 2005 on Tuesday, begin the season 5-0 for the first time since 2003-04 when they started 9-0.
-Assumption outshot Southern New Hampshire, 41.7 percent (25-60) to 35.5 percent (22-62), including 30 percent (6-20) to 21.7 percent (5-23) from long distance. SNHU held a 45.2 percent (14-31) to 37 percent (10-27) advantage in the second half.
-SNHU was plus-eight at the line, while Assumption shot it better from the stripe, 93.8 percent (15-16) to 67.6 percent (23-34).
-The Greyhounds held a 42-37 advantage on the glass, while the Penmen dominated the paint (32-19) and turned in a more impressive assist-to-turnover ratio (10/9-14/16).

Up Next:
The Penmen return to action Saturday, Dec. 3 (3:30 p.m.) when they play host to Bentley University in a game that will air live on NESNplus and NESN National at the Fieldhouse.

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