SOUTH EASTON, Mass. – The Saint Anselm College men's basketball team was a unanimous pick to finish atop the Northeast Division of the Northeast-10 Conference, according to the NE-10 Preseason Coaches Poll that was released by the conference Monday morning.
Saint Anselm captured 105 total points – the most of any team in either division – and earned 14 of 15 first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own teams). Crosstown rival Southern New Hampshire, who the Hawks will host in a nationally-televised game on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. on CBS Sports Network, as well as the defending tournament champions, was the next closest team with 85 points.
Franklin Pierce University, which took down Saint Anselm, 71-68, in the Northeast-10 semifinal round last season, finished just behind SNHU in third place with 84 points and the remaining first-place vote. Bentley University garnered 62 points to finish fourth in the voting, while Saint Michael's College (37), Assumption College (35), Merrimack College (34) and Stonehill College (34) rounded out the Northeast Division Poll.
In the Southwest Division, the University of New Haven was selected to finish first with 90 points, including 13 first-place votes. The College of Saint Rose and Southern Connecticut State University (one first-place vote) tied for second with 70 points. Le Moyne College was picked fourth with 44 points, while Adelphi University was fifth with 39 points and a first-place vote. American International College (33) and Pace University (25) closed out the poll in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Saint Anselm, which was ranked 16th in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Preseason Poll that was released late Friday evening, returns four of five starters and arguably the country's best sixth man from a year ago.
Northeast-10 First Teamer and All-American junior guard Roy Mabrey (Belmar, N.J.) returns after ranking fourth in the Northeast-10 in scoring (17.4 ppg). Sophomore Mike McCahey (Clarkstown, N.Y.) is also back after earning the league's Rookie of the Year award, as well as Second Team and All-Rookie Team honors with respective 16.3 and 7.2 scoring and rebounding averages. Senior Dino Mallios (Winthrop, Mass.) led the nation in assists per game (7.2), while chipping in 9.0 ppg and provides the Hawks with a tremendous leader and floor general. Junior Chris Santo (Cherry Hill, N.J.) may take his talents to the starting lineup this season, following a year in which he poured in 14.9 ppg in just 22.3 minutes per contest.
The Hawks, led by 2013 Northeast-10 and NABC East All-District Coach of the Year Keith Dickson, finished its season 23-6 and made it to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division II East Regional after earning its 17th NCAA Tournament berth in program history. The team went 18-4 in Northeast-10 play and captured the outright regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the Northeast-10 Championship for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign.
The Hawks open their season Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. when they play host to Bentley at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.