When and Where: March 4, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Saint Anselm College 73, Southern New Hampshire University 68
Records: Saint Anselm 20-8, SNHU 21-8
Junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) scored 19 points and classmate Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) registered a double-double, but the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team lost a 73-68 squeaker to Saint Anselm College in the Northeast-10 Championship Final on Saturday afternoon in front of a capacity crowd of 1,500 at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Southern New Hampshire, the top seed in the Northeast Division, falls short in an attempt for its second straight league title and third, overall, while Saint Anselm, seeded second in the Northeast, is crowned NE10 Champion for a league-best eighth time.
Floras shot 7-for-15 from the field and 5-for-6 from the line, while dishing four assists and grabbing a pair of rebounds. Walters scored 12 points (5-11 FG, 2-2 FT) and filled the stat sheet with 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. Sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) contributed 13 points (5-22 FG, 1-7 3-FG, 2-2 FT), three rebounds and two helpers, while senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) posted 12 points (4-13 FG, 2-6 3-FG, 2-2 FT), seven boards and two assists.
Cody Ball, the NE10 Championship Most Outstanding Player, paced the Hawks with a game-high 26 points. Tim Guers (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Harrison Taggart (10 points, 10 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles.
Trailing, 59-51, with under eight-and-a-half minutes to play, Southern New Hampshire crafted a 15-8 run – with six points from senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) and five from Floras – to slice the deficit to 67-66 with 3:25 on the clock. The two teams then traded misses on three straight possessions before Ball connected on a 3-pointer to bump the Saint Anselm lead to 70-66 with 1:20 remaining.
Floras then drained a pair of free throws to make it a one-possession game again before Taggart only made one of two at the other end to give the Penmen a chance to tie, trailing 71-68 with under 22 seconds on the clock. Southern New Hampshire came up short on a straightaway 3 that would have knotted game and Ball sealed it with a pair of free throws.
Harris registered six points (2-6 FG, 2-5 3-FG) and six rebounds.
Southern New Hampshire scored the first nine points of the game, much to the delight of the home crowd, as Andrews netted five and Walters contributed four. Taylor Fortin put Saint Anselm on the board at the 16:21 mark before another Andrews basket kept the SNHU lead at nine.
The Hawks made their move at the 15:17 mark as a layup from Chris Braley sparked a 32-11 outburst that gave Saint Anselm its largest lead of the afternoon at 34-22 with 6:21 on the clock. Ball led the way with eight points – all coming in the first 1:24 of the run – while Fortin and Braley each contributed six. Taggart and Guers added five.
Southern New Hampshire responded by closing the half with a 15-5 flourish that slashed its halftime deficit to 39-37. Gilligan led the charge with five points, while Walters and Floras chipped in four each.
After a Fortin basket 23 seconds into the second half made it a four-point game, six points from Floras powered a 10-2 stretch that put SNHU back in front at 47-43 with 14:54 remaining. A Floras layup at 16:05 gave the Penmen their first lead since 13:54 of the opening stanza at 43-41.
Saint Anselm hit back with a 16-4 blitz that featured eight points from Ball to open up a 59-51 advantage with 8:32 to play. The first of Ball's back-to-back 3-pointers at the 10:40 mark gave the Hawks the lead for good at 52-49.
Senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) chipped in six points (3-5 FG) and a pair of steals.
-Andrews and Gilligan were named to the NE10 All-Championship Team for the Penmen.
-The loss snapped SNHU's streaks for home wins (19) and NE10 Championship victories (6).
-Southern New Hampshire is now 21-12 (.636) all-time in the NE Championship and loses for just the third time in its last 14 conference tourney tilts. SNHU is also now 14-2 at home all-time in the NE10 Championship.
-The Penmen were denied the league's first repeat since 2007-08 as they were playing in their third final in five seasons.
-SNHU is now 1-1 against Saint Anselm in the NE10 Championship after winning last season's semifinal on the Hilltop. The Penmen still lead the all-time series with the Hawks, 34-33.
-Southern New Hampshire drops to 16-1 at home this season, matching the 1994-95 (16-1) and 1992-93 (16-3) teams for the program record for victories at the Fieldhouse in a single season. Southern New Hampshire, which had won 19 straight at the Fieldhouse dating back to Feb. 17 of last season, is now 29-4 (.879) at home since the start of the 2015-16 campaign and 41-8 (.837) over the last three seasons.
-SNHU falls to 18-2 this season when holding its opponent to 80 or fewer points, as well as 19-4 when limiting them to under 50 percent shooting.
-The double-double for Walters was his ninth of the season and 21st of his career.
-Saint Anselm outshot Southern New Hampshire, 42.1 percent (24-57) to 35.1 percent (26-74), including 43.5 percent (10-23) to 20.8 percent (5-24) from behind the arc.
-The Penmen could not take advantage of holding the Hawks to 33.3 percent (10-30) shooting in the second half.
-Saint Anselm was plus-4 from the line, despite being outshot, 91.7 percent (11-12) to 78.9 percent (15-19).
-The Penmen turned in a better assist-to-turnover ratio (11/6-12/18), capitalizing on a season-low six turnovers to post a 23-3 margin in points off mistakes. SNHU also won the paint (30-24), while Saint Anselm captured the glass (48-36).
The Penmen will wait and see where the chips fall for the NCAA East Regional when the selection show airs Sunday, March 5 on NCAA.com at 10:30 p.m. You can watch the show live by clicking HERE.
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.