MANCHESTER, N.H. – All five starters scored in double-figures as the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team defeated Southern Connecticut State University, 87-74, on Sunday afternoon in a Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinal matchup at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium in Manchester, N.H.
The No. 2-seeded Hawks improve to 18-8 overall and advance to the NE10 Semifinals for the fifth-straight season and Saint Anselm will travel to top-seeded Le Moyne College on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. matchup. Le Moyne defeated New Haven, 61-47, in one of the other NE10 Quarterfinals Sunday afternoon. Southern Connecticut drops to 17-12 with the setback.
Cody Ball led the Hawks with 21 points, while Chris Braley posted a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 20 rebounds to lead the Hawks. Harrison Taggart added 19 points and seven rebounds, with Taylor Fortin posting 16 points and four assists. Tim Guers rounded out the top scorers with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists.
Braley's 20 rebounds were the most in a game since Mike McCahey pulled down 20 boards back on Feb. 15, 2014 against Franklin Pierce.
Michael Mallory paced Southern Connecticut with 24 points, with Jerry Luckett, Jr. just missing a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds.
After the Owls scored the opening basket of the game, Saint Anselm used a 12-0 run capped by a Taggart triple to force a Southern Conn. timeout with 13:51 to play in the opening half. SCSU eventually got as close as 14-10 following a jumper from Toby Christensen, but back-to-back triples from Guers and Brenden Vessichio pushed the Saint Anselm lead back out to 20-10.
A 10-0 run by the Hawks, including eight points from Ball, pushed the Saint Anselm advantage out to 35-17, and a monster dunk in traffic from the sophomore in the final seconds of the half gave the Hawks a 39-21 lead. The Owls moved the ball quickly up the floor, and Isaiah McLeod knocked down a triple as time expired to make it a 39-24 game headed into halftime.
The two teams traded baskets to open the second stanza, and another Ball dunk gave the Hawks a 47-28 lead with 17:11 to play. Back-to-back layups from Mallory and Joey Wallace pulled SCSU to 49-35 before Braley and Guers sandwiched layups around a Taurus Adams II free throw to give the Hawks a 53-36 advantage with 12:50 remaining.
The Owls continued to hang around, and an Austin Carter layup nearly three minutes later cut the Saint Anselm lead to 58-45. Saint Anslem answered with a 9-2 run over the next two minutes to jump back on top 67-47, and a three-point play from Taylor Fortin gave the Hawks their largest lead of the game at 72-51 and only 6:37 remaining.
Southern Connecticut turned to its defense to try and stay in the game and a Luckett, Jr. jumper with 3:55 remaining pulled the Owls to within 13 at 76-63. Saint Anselm responded with back-to-back layups from Taggart and Fortin, and a Cody Ball layup with 1:30 to play made it an 84-68 lead for the home team.
The Owls were forced to foul, and the Hawks went 3-for-4 at the free throw line down the stretch, as Saint Anselm held on for the 87-74 victory.
Saint Anselm shot 43.3% (29-of-67) from the floor, 34.6% (9-of-26) from beyond the arc and 90.9% (20-of-22) at the free throw line in the win. The Owls connected on 37% (30-of-81) of their shots, 17.4% (4-of-23) of their triples and 66.7% (10-of-15) of their free throw attempts. Southern Connecticut held a slight 48-45 edge in rebounds, while turnovers were even at 11 apiece.