When and Where: January 31, 2018 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 96, Saint Michael's College 94 (OT)
Records: SNHU 12-8 (8-7 NE10), Saint Michael's 5-15 (2-11 NE10)
Senior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) poured in 31 points, including 27 after halftime and eight of his team's 10 points in overtime, to lead the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team to a 96-94 victory against Saint Michael's College on Wednesday night at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Walters was 6 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 2 from long range, and a perfect 17 of 17 from the line to fall one make short of the single-game program mark of 18. Walters also filled the box score with nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. In his first career start, sophomore Eamonn Joyce (Medford, Mass.) notched a career-best 20 points (5-13 FG, 2-6 3-FG, 8-8 FT), five rebounds and two assists. Junior Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) posted 16 points (4-11 FG, 1-1 3-FG, 7-9 FT), nine boards and two assists, while senior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) recorded 16 points (6-12 FG, 1-4 3-FG, 3-4 FT), two rebounds and a pair of helpers. Sophomore Ryogo Sumino (Kanagawa, Japan) was the fifth Penmen in double figures with 10 points (3-3 FG, 2-2 3-FG, 2-2 FT).
Levi Holmes III led all scorers with a career-high 38 points for the Purple Knights, who also received 20 points from Thomas Jackson III and 14 from Derek Cheatom.
After trailing by as many as 10 in the second half, Southern New Hampshire found itself down six at 86-80 when Andrews stepped to the line with just under 14 seconds remaining and knocked down two free throws to begin what would be a regulation-closing 6-0 run. After an errant inbounds pass on the ensuing Saint Michael's possession that was stolen by Joyce, Walters buried a deep 3-pointer from the left side with 8.5 seconds on the clock to pull the Penmen within 86-85.
Cheatom was then immediately fouled and sent to the line with 7.3 ticks left, but he missed both before Andrews grabbed the rebound and used his blazing speed to go the length of the floor and draw a blocking foul with 1.7 seconds remaining. Andrews made one of two to knot the game and the Saint Michael's heave at the buzzer was too strong, sending the game to overtime.
Southern New Hampshire began the extra session with an 8-2 run, which included six points from Walters, to take a 94-88 advantage with 1:47 to play. A pair of treys from Holmes III bookended a 6-2 spurt that pulled the Purple Knights within 96-94 with 42 seconds remaining, but, following a Penmen turnover with 13.9 seconds left, they would miss a potential game-winning 3 and then came up empty on a game-tying put-back at the buzzer.
The Penmen scored all 10 of their points in overtime at the line, going perfect en route to a 40-for-44 performance (90.9%) that set a new single-game program mark for made free throws.
Seven points from Joyce carried an early 10-3 run that spanned nearly the first five minutes of the contest, before an 8-2 counter-run – with five points from Eli DiGrande – pulled the Purple Knights within one at 12-11 at the 14:05 mark. The Penmen increased the lead to four when a 9-3 run – bookended by layups from Jackson III – put Saint Michael's into the lead at 23-21 with 8:01 remaining in the opening half.
Southern New Hampshire then led by one when a 9-2 flurry put the visitors in front, 34-28, with 2:46 on the clock. Saint Michael's would go to the locker room with a 41-33 advantage.
A layup from Cheatom just over a minute in gave Saint Michael's its largest lead of the night at 43-33, but a 15-5 blitz later in the half – with six points from Walters – brought SNHU all the way back and put it in the lead at 55-54 with 11:06 to go.
Seven lead changes and a trio of ties then ensued, leaving Saint Michael's with a 68-65 advantage exactly three minutes later. Southern New Hampshire responded with a 9-3 run – with five points from Andrews and four from Joyce – to seize a 74-71 lead with 5:21 to go.
The Purple Knights responded, however, with an 11-2 counter-run – featuring four points from Holmes III – to crack open an 82-76 lead with under a minute to play. With the margin at four, Jackson III drained a pair at the line to give the visitors what seemed like an insurmountable lead at 86-80 with 20.9 seconds remaining.
-Southern New Hampshire snaps its longest losing streak in more than 11 years at six straight with the victory.
-The 40 made free throws for the Penmen top the previous single-game mark of 39, which was set against Quinnipiac University on Dec. 1, 1987 and then matched versus Assumption College on Jan. 28, 2006.
-Walters' 31 points moved him past Darrell Johnston (1,699) and into ninth place on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,709 points.
-Andrews positioned himself within 11 points of becoming the program's 50th member of the 1,000-point club.
SNHU is now 8-2 in its last 10 overtime contests dating back to the 2012-13 season.
-Saint Michael's outshot Southern New Hampshire from the field, 45.2 percent (33-73) to 42.1 percent (24-57), and from beyond the arc, 43.6 percent (17-39) to 42.1 percent (8-19), while SNHU was plus-29 from the line and shot a better percentage, 90.9 percent (40-44) to 61.1 percent (11-18).
-The Penmen won the paint (28-20) and owned a 17-9 margin in points off turnovers after giving it away just nine times, including four after halftime, and forcing 13 Saint Michael's mistakes. The Purple Knights captured the glass, 44-35, including 15-7 on the offensive end for an 18-9 advantage in second chance points. Assist-to-turnover ratio was even (9/9-13/13).
The Penmen return to action Saturday, Feb. 3 (3:30 p.m.) against Stonehill College. The next home game for SNHU is Wednesday, Feb. 7 (7:30 p.m.) when they play host to Bentley University at the Fieldhouse in a game that will air on FOX College Sports.
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