When and Where: December 3, 2016 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 87, Bentley University 67
Records: SNHU 6-0 (4-0 NE10), Bentley 4-4 (2-3 NE10)
Junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) led five scorers in double figures with a career- and game-high 19 points as the 25th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team won a rematch of last season's Northeast-10 Championship final with Bentley University, 87-67, on Saturday afternoon at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Floras was an efficient 8 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 5 from downtown, while handing out four assists and grabbing three rebounds. Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) recorded 18 points (8-8 FG, 2-2 3-FG) on perfect shooting to go with four boards. Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) registered 17 points (5-11 FG, 7-7 FT) and eight rebounds, with senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) netting 11 points (5-8 FG, 1-4 3-FG). Fellow senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) reached double figures for the fourth straight game with 10 points (4-7 FG, 1-3 3-FG, 1-2 FT) to go along with six assists and four rebounds.
Ryan Richmond led the Falcons with 12 points.
Bentley took its only lead of the game on a mid-range jumper by Matt Barr to open the scoring just 22 seconds into the contest before Floras answered with a 3-pointer at the 19:13 mark to give Southern New Hampshire the lead for good. With the gap at one less than four minutes in, four different scorers combined on a 13-1 blitz that ballooned the Penmen lead to 21-8 with 11:12 remaining in the opening half. Walters led the way with seven points during the stretch.
Five straight Bentley points trimmed the deficit to eight before buckets from Harris and Floras later in the half reinstated the 13-point lead. A Gilligan basket at the 2:46 mark gave SNHU its largest advantage of the half at 37-22 before the Penmen brought a 40-27 lead into the locker room.
Southern New Hampshire picked up right where it left off after the break, beginning the second half on a 10-0 run – with Gilligan scoring the first seven points – to open up a 50-27 lead just 2:40 in.
Barr 3-pointers on back-to-back Bentley possessions would bring the Falcons within 19 and the margin would fluctuate between there and 25 over the next eight-plus minutes before an Oliveira trey handed the Penmen their largest lead of the game at 72-46 with 8:16 to play.
SNHU led it, 83-60, with 3:13 remaining when it emptied the bench and cruised to victory, with Bentley never getting closer than 18.
Sophomore Charlie Russo (Syracuse, N.Y.) chipped in six points (2-3 FG, 2-3 3-FG) and four rebounds.
-The Penmen begin the season 6-0 for the first time since 2003-04 when they started 9-0.
-In 18 minutes, sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) tallied two points (1-6 FG), four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal in his return from injury after missing the first five games of the season.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Bentley, 57.4 percent (35-61) to 32.3 percent (20-62), including 42.9 percent (9-21) to 31.8 percent (7-22) from long distance, and 54.8 percent (17-31) to 26.5 percent (9-34) in the first half, overall.
-SNHU was also better from the line, 80 percent (8-10) to 74.1 percent (20-27), while the Falcons were plus-12 from the stripe.
-Despite being outrebounded on the offensive end, 16-7, the Penmen won the glass, 37-35, in addition to dominating the paint (40-20) and featuring a much better assist-to-turnover ratio (18/7-8/6).
The Penmen return to action Wednesday, Dec. 7 (7:30 p.m.) when they take on Stonehill College. The next home game for SNHU is Saturday, Dec. 10 (3:30 p.m.) when it plays host to Saint Michael's College in a game that will air live on NESNplus and NESN National at the Fieldhouse.
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