When and Where: February 21, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (Stoutenburgh Gymnasium)
Score: Saint Anselm College 95, Southern New Hampshire University 87
Records: Saint Anselm 17-8 (13-8 Northeast-10), SNHU 19-7 (15-6 Northeast-10)
Junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) poured in 22 points, but the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team closed the regular season with a 95-87 loss to Saint Anselm College on Tuesday evening at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
With the regular season coming to a close, the Penmen officially earn the No. 1 seed in the Northeast Division and will have home court advantage throughout the entire NE10 Championship, which begins Friday, Feb. 24. Southern New Hampshire will play host to Friday's winner of the Southwest No. 4 seed, Adelphi University, and the Northeast No. 5, Bentley University, in a quarterfinal matchup Sunday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.
Floras was 10-for-21 from the field, including 2-for-6 from behind the arc, while grabbing eight rebounds, dishing four assists and making three steals. Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) posted 21 points (8-16 FG, 5-7 3-FG) and eight boards, with redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) notching a double-double of 17 points (6-16 FG, 2-5 3-FG, 3-5 FT), 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) also reached double figures with 12 points (5-11 FG, 1-2 3-FG, 1-2 FT), two rebounds and two helpers.
Taylor Fortin scored a game-high 28 points for the Hawks, while Tim Guers recorded a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, three blocks and three steals. Chris Braley posted 20 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Four points from Floras and 3-pointers by senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) and Walters staked the Penmen to a 10-4 lead over the opening 2:46 before 11 straight points, including four each from Fortin and Braley, and three from Grant Mackay, jumped Saint Anselm in front, 15-10, at the 14:29 mark.
The early game of runs continued as five points from Andrews powered an 8-0 stretch that leapfrogged the Penmen back in front, 18-15, with 12:40 remaining. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Guers gave the Hawks a 21-18 lead just over a minute later before treys from sophomore Charlie Russo (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Harris gave SNHU a 26-23 lead with 8:28 to play.
A Harrison Taggart jumper would cut the Southern New Hampshire lead to one – its final lead of the night – and spark a 24-8 blitz that featured nine points from Cody Ball and six from Taggart and opened up a 47-34 lead with 33 seconds left. A Ball layup at 7:28 gave Saint Anselm the lead for good at 27-26. The Hawks would carry a 47-36 advantage into the break.
Saint Anselm opened the second half on a 10-4 run – with six points from Fortin and four from Braley – to stretch the lead to 57-40 more than four minutes in. After four points from Floras sparked a 7-2 run that cut the Penmen deficit to 12, an 8-2 counter-run sent the hosts' lead to an even 20 at 69-49 with 10:50 remaining. A Fortin layup at the 8:42 mark gave the Hawks their largest lead of the night at 75-54.
Southern New Hampshire responded in a big way, ripping off a 23-10 run – with 11 points from Walters and seven from Floras – to slash its deficit to 87-80 with 2:11 on the clock. The Penmen would never get closer as a Ball 3-pointer with 1:16 remaining all but sealed it by making it 92-82.
Harris finished with eight points (3-6 FG, 2-4 3-FG) and four rebounds.
-SNHU, which had won four of five against Saint Anselm entering the game, still leads the all-time series, 34-32.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Saint Anselm, 46.7 percent (35-75) to 44.3 percent (31-70), including 52 percent (13-25) to 29 percent (9-31) from downtown.
-Saint Anselm was plus-20 at the line, shooting a sizzling 92.3 percent (24-26), while the Penmen were just 4-for-9 (44.4%).
-The Hawks outrebounded SNHU, 45-37, including 11-8 on the offensive glass for a 17-7 margin in second chance points, and won the paint, 40-32. While both teams turned it over 14 times, the Penmen were more opportunistic, holding a 24-14 advantage in points off mistakes.
The Penmen return to action Sunday, Feb. 26 (3 p.m.) when they play host to either Adelphi or Bentley in NE10 Championship quarterfinal action at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
For the latest on Southern New Hampshire University athletics, follow the Penmen via social media on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Sign up to receive text message alerts and e-mail newsletters about your favorite Penmen teams here.