When and Where: February 17, 2018 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 96, Franklin Pierce University 66
Records: SNHU 14-11 (10-10 NE10), Franklin Pierce 14-11 (9-11 NE10)
Senior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) dropped in a game-high 27 points to lead the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team to a massive, 96-66 victory against in-state foe Franklin Pierce University on Saturday at the SNHU Fieldhouse, as the program celebrated Senior Day by clinching a spot in the Northeast-10 postseason.
Walters made nine of his 14 shots from the field, including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc, and 7 of 9 from the line, while grabbing nine rebounds, collecting four blocks and dishing three assists. Sophomores Eamonn Joyce (Medford, Mass.) and Ryogo Sumino (Kanagawa, Japan) both came up with big performances. Joyce scored 19 points (7-10 FG, 3-5 3-FG, 2-4 FT) and pulled down four rebounds, while Sumino netted a career-best 19 points (7-12 FG, 5-8 3-FG) and recorded a pair of boards. Sumino's five treys were also a career high. Junior Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) tallied 17 points (7-12 FG, 3-4 FT), eight rebounds and six assists.
Doyin Fadojutimi paced the Ravens with 22 points, while Mike McDevitt added 16.
Trailing by three, Southern New Hampshire came out of the locker room on fire, embarking on a 40-7 run to begin the second half to grab its largest lead of the contest at 84-54 with just under seven minutes remaining. Andrews led the way during the stretch, scoring 12 points, including six of the first seven. Sumino contributed eight, with Walters adding seven.
An Andrews layup gave the Penmen the lead for good at 49-47 just over a minute-and-a-half in. With the margin at nine just over four minutes later, five straight points from Sumino triggered a run of 11-in-a-row that was part of a 23-2 stretch, which broke the game wide open. A thunderous put-back dunk from Walters at the 8:47 mark all but sealed it, sending the crowd into a frenzy and the lead up to 82-54.
Franklin Pierce would never get closer than 30 the rest of the way.
The Ravens led by one nearly four minutes into the contest when eight straight points, including six from Fadojutimi, expanded the lead to 19-10 with 13:24 remaining in the opening half. Southern New Hampshire responded with an 8-2 stretch, with the first five points coming from Walters, but five straight from the visitors gave them some breathing room at 26-20 with 8:39 to play.
The Penmen would three times come within a point of the lead, but were rebuffed by the Ravens each time, with back-to-back triples from McDevitt running the Franklin Pierce lead up to 40-33 with under four minutes to play. The margin was still seven close to three minutes later when Walters closed the half with four straight to trim SNHU's halftime deficit to 47-44.
Senior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) chimed in with eight points (3-7 FG, 2-2 FT), four assists and three assists, while classmate Scott Toresco (Westfield, N.J.) chipped in five points (1-2 FG, 3-4 FT) and four boards.
-Southern New Hampshire secures a playoff berth by clinching, at worst, the fifth best record in the NE10 Northeast Division standings with one game to go. The Penmen can earn the No. 4 seed and a first round home game Friday, Feb. 23 with a win Tuesday at Assumption College, coupled with a Bentley University loss at Franklin Pierce.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Franklin Pierce, 58.6 percent (34-58) to 40 percent (22-55), including 73.1 percent (19-26) to 22.7 percent (5-22) in the second half and 55.6 percent (10-18) to 45.8 percent (11-24) from beyond the arc. SNHU was also better from the line, 72 percent (18-25) to 68.8 percent (11-16).
-The Penmen won the glass (34-27), dominated the paint (40-16), turned in turned in a much better assist-to-turnover ratio (14/6-11/14) and held advantages in points off mistakes (21-6) and second chance points (9-4).
-Senior Walters and Floras were recognized in a pre-game ceremony.
The Penmen return to action Tuesday, Feb. 20 (7:30 p.m.) when they take on Assumption College in the regular-season finale before playing in an NE10 Championship first round contest Friday, Feb. 23, with the venue and opponent to be determined.
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