When and Where: January 18, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 95, Southern Connecticut State University 79
Records: SNHU 13-3 (9-2 Northeast-10), SCSU 12-6 (8-3 Northeast-10)
Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) posted a game-high 30 points and ripped down 10 rebounds to help the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team notch a 95-79 victory against Southern Connecticut State University in a battle of two first-place teams Wednesday evening at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Gilligan was an efficient 9 of 13 from the field, including 2 of 4 from behind the arc, and 10 of 12 at the stripe. Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) posted 25 points (8-15 FG, 9-9 FT), eight boards and four assists. Junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) netted 15 points (5-13 FG, 3-7 3-FG, 2-2 FT), to go along with five rebounds and three helpers, while sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) turned in his best performance of the season with 13 points (6-11 FG, 1-2 3-FG), 11 rebounds and three assists.
Michael Mallory paced the Owls with 28 points.
Trailing by two early on, Southern New Hampshire authored a 9-0 run that was sparked by a Gilligan 3-pointer and gave the Penmen a 14-7 advantage with 12:54 remaining in the opening half. Southern Connecticut answered back with a 21-5 blitz – featuring nine points from Isaiah McLeod on a trio of treys and five points each from Noah Miree and Jerry Luckett Jr. – to crack open its largest lead of the night at 31-21 with 7:45 left.
With the margin at nine nearly four minutes later, a Gilligan 3-pointer triggered a 7-0 flurry – with the final four points coming from Walters – that slashed the SNHU deficit to 38-36 with 1:40 on the clock. A triple from Mallory just before time expired sent the Owls into the break with a 45-39 lead.
Southern New Hampshire came flying out of the locker room on an 18-6 run – with five points each from Walters and Floras, as well as four each from Gilligan and Andrews – that was part of a larger 34-12 stretch, spanning the opening nine minutes of the second half. Walters led the way with 10, while Floras added eight. A corner trey from sophomore Jon Martin (Manchester, N.H.) capped the stretch and ballooned the Penmen lead to 73-57 with 10:57 remaining. A Floras layup just 2:07 into stanza gave SNHU the lead for good at 48-47.
A 7-0 counter-run – with the final five points coming from Mallory – trimmed the Southern Connecticut deficit to nine at 73-64 with nine minutes to play, but an 8-0 burst – with four points from Gilligan – later in the half, stretched the Southern New Hampshire advantage to 83-66 with just over five minutes remaining.
The margin never shrunk smaller than 14 and SNHU opened its largest lead of the night at 19 (95-76) on a Walters layup with 39 ticks left.
Senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) registered seven points (3-9 FG, 1-4 3-FG), seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
-Gilligan, who reached the 1,000-point plateau for his career at Merrimack College back on Dec. 18, scored his 1,000th point in a Penmen uniform in the first half.
-The double-double was Gilligan's fifth of the season and 10th of his career, while it was the first of the season for Andrews and his third ever.
-The outcome of the game had major implications on the NE10 standings as the win gave the Penmen, who have now won five of six, a two-game lead in the Northeast Division, while the Owls dropped into a second-place tie in the Southwest.
-SNHU improves to a perfect 11-0 at home this season and has won 14 straight at the Fieldhouse dating back to Feb. 17 of last season. The Penmen are 24-3 at home since the start of the 2015-16 campaign and 36-7 over the last three seasons.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Southern Connecticut, 48.5 percent (33-68) to 38 percent (30-79), including 36.4 percent (8-22) to 35.5 percent (11-31) from long distance.
-SNHU was plus-13 from the line as it outshot SCSU, 84 percent (21-25) to 80 percent (8-10).
-The Penmen won the glass (47-42) and the paint (42-32), while turning in a more impressive assist-to-turnover ratio (17/11-12/12).
The Penmen return to action Saturday, Jan. 21 (3:30 p.m.) when they take on the University of New Haven. The next home game for SNHU is Wednesday, Feb. 1 (7:30 p.m.) when it plays host to Assumption College at the SNHU Fieldhouse in game that will air live on NESNplus and NESN National. It is Penmen Pride Night and all fans in attendance are encouraged to wear gold.
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