Men’s Basketball Falters Late in 84-81 Defeat at Saint Michael’s

BOX SCORE

When and Where: February 4, 2017 – Colchester, Vt. (Ross Sports Center)
Score:
Saint Michael's College 84, Southern New Hampshire University 81
Records:
Saint Michael's 5-16 (4-12 Northeast-10), SNHU 16-5 (12-4 Northeast-10)

Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) scored a team-high 22 points, but the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team, which had rallied from eight down in the second half to take the lead, suffered an 84-81 loss to Saint Michael's College on Saturday afternoon at the Ross Sports Center.

Walters went 5-for-9 from the field and 12-for-14 from the stripe, while bringing in five rebounds and passing out a pair of assists. Sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) netted 15 points (4-13 FG, 7-10 FT), including 13 in the second half, and pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double, while senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) posted 15 points (6-10 FG, 1-3 3-FG, 2-3 FT), five rebounds and five helpers.

Matt Bonds paced the Purple Knights with 28 points and 21 rebounds.

Southern New Hampshire held a 74-67 lead with under six minutes remaining in the contest when five points from Derek Cheatom powered an 11-3 rush that gave Saint Michael's a 78-77 edge with 2:22 on the clock. Four straight points from Walters put the Penmen back in front by three before a David Sullivan layup made it a one-point game at 81-80 with 1:05 left.

The Penmen had a chance to go back up by three with under 40 seconds to go, but missed both free throws, leaving the door wide open for Saint Michael's, which took advantage as Sullivan dropped in another layup with 16 seconds to play to give the Purple Knights the lead at 82-81.

SNHU had an inbound underneath its own basket with less than seven seconds remaining following a timeout, but the ball was stripped near the right elbow and Bonds would hit two free throws with 1.4 seconds on the clock to assure Saint Michael's nothing worse than overtime. The Penmen followed with an inbounds pass to half-court and had a decent look at a desperation heave, but the try did not fall and the Purple Knights escaped with the win.

Cheatom and Sullivan finished with 17 and 16 points, respectively, for Saint Michael's.

The opening half featured four lead changes and five ties before a 3-pointer from junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) gave Southern New Hampshire a one-point lead and sparked a 14-4 run that opened up a 29-21 advantage with 7:36 left in the half. Floras and sophomore Charlie Russo (Syracuse, N.Y.) each connected on a pair of 3-pointers for six points each during the stretch.

With the gap at five nearly three minutes later, Saint Michael's capped the stanza with a 14-4 charge that featured six points from Cheatom and handed the Purple Knights a 42-37 halftime lead.

A layup from Bonds would give Saint Michael's its largest lead of the day at 48-40 just 1:16 in. The hosts still led by eight under four minutes later when six points from Andrews carried a 10-0 rush that gave Southern New Hampshire a 59-57 lead with 12:49 remaining. After two baskets from Bonds leapfrogged Saint Michael's into the lead, the Penmen countered with an 11-2 run – capped with 3-pointers from Russo and Gilligan – to seize a 70-63 advantage with 7:39 left. The teams then traded baskets twice before the Purple Knights made their move.

Russo scored nine points (3-3 FG, 3-3 3-FG) and brought in three rebounds, while senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) also scored nine points (4-7 FG, 1-2 FT) and dished three assists. Floras finished with eight points (3-11 FG, 2-5 3-FG), three rebounds and two assists.

Notes:
-The double-double was Andrews' seconds of the season and fourth of his career.
-The loss snapped SNHU's three-game winning streak and marked just its second blemish in the last seven games.
-With Merrimack College defeating Saint Anselm College on Saturday, the Warriors have crept to within one game of the Penmen for the top spot in the NE10 Northeast Division standings, while the crosstown-rival Hawks are still three back.
-Southern New Hampshire narrowly outshot Saint Michael's, 47.3 percent (26-55) to 46.7 percent (35-75), including 35 percent (7-20) to 31.6 percent (6-19) from beyond the arc.
-SNHU also cleaned up at the line as it was plus-14 and outshot Saint Michael's, 75.9 percent (22-29) to 50 percent (8-16).
 -The Purple Knights outrebounded the Penmen, 46-32, including 20-6 on the offensive end for a 20-4 gap in second chance points, controlled the paint (50-34) and turned in a slightly better assist-to-turnover ratio (18/16-14/13).

Up Next:
The Penmen return to action Wednesday, Feb. 8 (7:30 p.m.) when they take on Bentley University. The next home game for SNHU is Saturday, Feb. 11 (4 p.m.) when it plays host to Merrimack College on Pink Day at the SNHU Fieldhouse in a game that will air live on NESNplus and NESN National.

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