When and Where: March 1, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 65, College of Saint Rose 63
Records: SNHU 21-7, Saint Rose 24-7
Another packed house. Another two-point game. Another win. Another trip to the conference finals.
Sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) led all scorers with 24 points, including 17 in the second half, to help the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team secure a 65-63 Northeast-10 Championship semifinal victory against the College of Saint Rose on Wednesday night in front of a raucous crowd of 1,185 at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Southern New Hampshire, the top seed in the Northeast Division, advances to the title game for the second straight year and for the third time in five seasons. SNHU will play host to crosstown rival Saint Anselm College – the No. 2 seed from the Northeast – on Saturday, March 4 (1 p.m.) at the Fieldhouse. Saint Anselm won a close one on the road, knocking off the Southwest Division's top seed, Le Moyne College, 71-68. Saint Rose, seeded second in the Southwest, will now await Sunday's selection show to see where it will end up in the NCAA Tournament.
Andrews, who was coming off a career-high 28-point-performance in Sunday's 97-95 quarterfinal triumph against Adelphi, was 8-for-15 from the field, including 6-for-9 after halftime, as well as 3-for-4 from behind the arc and 5-for-8 at the line, while grabbing six rebounds and handing out two assists. Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) registered 18 points (7-11 FG, 3-7 3-FG, 1-1 FT), six boards and two helpers.
Chris Dorgler paced the Golden Knights with 15 points.
Clinging to a 65-63 lead with under 30 seconds remaining in regulation, the Penmen looked to all but seal the win, but they missed a layup and turned the ball back over to Saint Rose with 22 seconds on the clock. The Golden Knights worked the ball around for a shot, but had a pass near the baseline deflected with six seconds left that was scooped up by junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.), who ran the court and moved the ball to run out the clock.
Walters, who was limited to just 26 minutes due to foul trouble, tallied seven points (3-8 FG, 1-1 FT), eight rebounds, six blocks and two steals.
Southern New Hampshire jumped out to a 5-0 lead and was ahead 8-3 – on six Gilligan points – before Saint Rose responded with 12 straight points as part of an 18-5 rush that gave it the largest lead of the half at 21-13 with 10:46 remaining in the first. Six different scorers contributed for the Golden Knights, including four from Tyler Sayre.
The Penmen answered right back with a half-closing 18-5 run of its own – with five points each from Gilligan and senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) – that sent the hosts to the locker room with a 31-26 advantage.
Five straight points from Saint Rose to open the second half tied the game at 31-all less than two minutes in, but Andrews delivered a three-point play and then a 3-pointer to open up a 37-31 advantage for the Penmen at the 16-minute mark.
Saint Rose would tie it at 43 four minutes later following a 7-1 spurt and then later grabbed a 53-52 lead on a Sayre layup with 6:57 remaining. An Andrews layup gave the Penmen the lead for good at 54-53 with 5:10 left and also sparked a 7-0 run that he capped with a trey to widen the margin to six at 59-53 with 4:00 to go.
Five straight points from Walters nearly two minutes later gave Southern New Hampshire its largest lead of the night at 64-55 with 1:47 on the clock. The gap was still nine at 65-56 just 36 seconds later when seven straight Dorgler points and three consecutive Penmen turnovers tightened things up and brought the game down to the final possession.
Senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) chimed in with five points (2-6 FG, 1-3 3-FG), four rebounds and two assists, while classmate Adrian Oliveira (Tewksbury, Mass.) also netted five points (2-2 FG, 1-1 3-FG) and dished three helpers.
-Southern New Hampshire is now 21-11 (.656) all-time in the NE Championship, winning 11 of its last 13 conference tourney tilts, including six straight. SNHU is also now 14-1 at home all-time in the NE10 Championship.
-The Penmen were playing in their third straight semifinal and fourth in the last five seasons.
-SNHU is now a perfect 6-0 versus Saint Rose in the NE10 postseason, including 5-0 at the Fieldhouse.
-SNHU improves to a perfect 16-0 at home this season, with the 16 victories coming as the most since the 1994-95 team went 16-1. Southern New Hampshire, which has won 19 straight at the Fieldhouse dating back to Feb. 17 of last season, is 29-3 (.906) at home since the start of the 2015-16 campaign and 41-7 (.854) over the last three seasons.
-In a battle of the conference's two winningest head coaches, 32nd-year bench boss Stan Spirou came out on top with career victory No. 625, including his 66th in the postseason. Saint Rose's Brian Beaury has won 620 games in 31 seasons.
-SNHU improves to 14-1 this season when leading at halftime, 18-1 when holding its opponent to 80 or fewer points and 19-3 when limiting them to under 50 percent shooting.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Saint Rose, 45.3 percent (24-53) to 41.1 percent (23-56), while the Golden Knights returned the favor from deep, 42.9 percent (9-21) to 38.5 percent (10-26).
-SNHU was 7 of 10 (70%) from the line, with Saint Rose going 8 of 12 (66.7%).
-The Penmen won the paint (26-20), with Saint Rose capturing the glass (34-32) and submitting a better assist-to-turnover ratio (11/9-13/12).
The Penmen return to action Saturday, March 4 (1 p.m.) when they play host to Saint Anselm in the NE10 Championship final at the Fieldhouse.
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