When and Where: January 28, 2017 – Pleasantville, N.Y. (Goldstein Fitness Center)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 79, Pace University 67
Records: SNHU 15-4 (11-3 Northeast-10), Pace 6-16 (3-11 Northeast-10)
Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) recorded a game-high 25 points, including 15 in the second half, as the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team erased a small deficit after halftime to defeat Pace University, 79-67, Saturday afternoon at the Goldstein Fitness Center.
Gilligan connected on 10 of 18 shots from the field, including 3 of 8 from downtown, and 2 of 2 from the line, to go along with three steals, two assists and two rebounds. Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) supported Gilligan's effort with 20 points (7-12 FG, 2-5 3-FG, 4-4 FT), including 15 in the second stanza, eight rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. Sophomore Charlie Russo (Syracuse, N.Y.) matched his career best with 12 points (4-6 FG, 3-4 3-FG, 1-1 FT), while classmate Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) tallied 11 points (3-6 FG, 1-2 3-FG, 4-4 FT), five rebounds and three assists.
Austin Mofunanya paced the Setters with 18 points and nine boards, while Christian White added 17 points.
Southern New Hampshire opened the second half with a jumper from Walters that tied the game at 37-all less than two minutes in. After a Mofunanya basket gave Pace the lead back, consecutive 3-pointers from Gilligan put the Penmen in front, 43-39, with 15:25 remaining. Pace hit back with a 7-2 counter-run – with five points from White – to move back in front, 46-45, over two minutes later.
Five lead changes and two ties followed to leave the score knotted at 52 with 11:05 to play before junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) gave SNHU the lead for good with a 3-pointer at the 10:46 mark. Pace would close to within one at 56-55 with 9:15 to play before a 12-3 rush – with five points from Andrews – extended the Penmen lead to 68-58 with 4:57 left.
Pace would trim the deficit to seven before dunks from Walters and Gilligan highlighted a 5-0 spurt that ended the game with SNHU holding a game-high 12-point lead.
Floras chipped in five points (2-7 FG, 1-3 3-FG) and three rebounds.
Five points from White staked Pace to a 10-5 lead over the opening 2:52 before a Gilligan 3-pointer pulled the Penmen within two just 18 seconds later. With the gap at one more than four minutes later, an 8-2 run – with four points from Ryan Peterson – gave the Setters their largest lead of the contest at 25-18 with 9:02 to play in the opening half.
The margin was five nearly four minutes later when a 3-pointer from senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) sparked a 6-2 spurt that sliced the Pace lead to 32-31 with 2:38 to play. The Setters would bring a 37-35 advantage into the locker room.
Senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) added three points (1-6 FG, 1-2 FT), seven assists and two rebounds.
-SNHU has now won 4 of 5 and 7 of 9.
-With Merrimack idle, the Penmen now hold a two-game lead over Merrimack College in the Northeast Division standings, as well as a three-game lead on crosstown-rival Saint Anselm College.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Pace, 48.3 percent (28-58) to 41.3 percent (26-63), including 42.3 percent (11-26) to 28.1 percent (9-32) from downtown and 50 percent (14-28) to 36.4 percent (12-33) in the second half.
-SNHU was plus-6 from the line, shooting a sizzling 92.3 percent (12-13) to Pace's 66.7 percent (6-9).
-The Setters dominated the glass, 42-26, including 17-6 on the offensive end for a 12-7 advantage in second chance points, and won the paint, 28-22. The Penmen turned in a much better assists-to-turnover ratio (18/9-13/70, despite Pace holding a 15-11 margin in points off mistakes.
The Penmen return to action Wednesday, Feb. 1 (7:30 p.m.) when they play 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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