MANCHESTER, N.H. – Junior Chris Santo (Cherry Hill, N.J.) scored a team-high 13 points, but the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team was ousted from the Northeast-10 Championship in the semifinal round via Wednesday evening's 85-58 loss to the University of New Haven at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
The Hawks, the top seed from the Northeast Division, had won 13 of 15, including nine straight, entering the day. They drop to 20-7 on the season as their longest winning streak in the last 16 years was snapped. Saint Anselm loses for just the third time at home in 13 games this year and also falls at home in the semifinals for the second consecutive season. The 27-point defeat is the largest for the program since an 83-53 setback at Bentley University back on Nov. 23, 2010 and is also the worst home loss of the Keith Dickson-era as the last time the Hawks fell by this big of a margin at Stoutenburgh was Feb. 25, 1984 in an 80-53 loss to Stonehill College. Saint Anselm is now 43-26 all-time in the Northeast Championship, where they had never met New Haven prior to this contest. The Chargers, seeded second in the Southwest Division, improve to 21-7 and advance to Saturday's title game to face in-state rival Southern Connecticut University.
Santo reached double figures for the 25th straight game as he shot 5-for-13 from the field and 3-for-4 at the line, while pulling down five rebounds. Classmate Roy Mabrey (Belmar, N.J.) also scored in double digits with 11 points (3-11 FG; 2-7 3-FG; 3-5 FT).
Jeffery Adkins led three Chargers in double figures with 23 points. Eric Anderson and Justin Exum each scored 21, with Anderson adding 11 rebounds and four blocks.
Saint Anselm set new season lows in points, shooting percentage (.377) and rebounds (19), while matching its season low for assists (8).
New Haven led by two more than five minutes in when a 5-0 spurt pushed its lead to 14-7 with 12:53 remaining in the opening half. A 6-2 counter run, with four points from sophomore Mike McCahey (Clarkstown, N.Y.), trimmed the Saint Anselm deficit to 16-13 just over two minutes later, but a 23-7 barrage – with 10 points from Exum and seven from Adkins – opened up a 39-20 lead for the Chargers with 3:11 to play. Jemal Mosley hit a 35-foot desperation 3 as time expired to send New Haven into the break with a 46-27 advantage.
The Chargers opened the second half by using nine points from Adkins, five from Cyrus James and four from Anderson to craft an 18-7 run that gave them their largest lead of the contest at 64-34 just 5:50 in. With the lead still at 30 just over six minutes later, three points from Santo powered a 5-0 spurt that pulled the Hawks within 73-48 with 6:41 left, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way as New Haven scored eight of the next 12 to widen the gap to 29 with under three minutes left.
McCahey posted seven points (2-7 FG; 1-3 3-FG; 2-2 FT) and four rebounds, while senior John Nielsen (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) netted eight points (2-5 FG; 1-4 3-FG; 3-4 FT).
New Haven outshot Saint Anselm, 55.4 percent (31-56) to 37.7 percent (20-53), including 42.1 percent (8-19) to 23.8 percent (5-21) from downtown. The Chargers also owned the glass (39-19) and the paint (44-22). The Hawks posted the better assist-to-turnover ratio (8/5-7/8), but New Haven, which blocked eight shots in the game, held advantages in points off turnovers (11-3) and second-chance points (12-6).
The Hawks, who were second in the latest NCAA East Region rankings that were released earlier in the day, most likely did enough during the season to earn their 18th NCAA Tournament berth, but will have to wait until the selection show Sunday, March 9 at 10:30 p.m. on NCAA.com to find out for certain. 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.