MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senior Taylor Fortin scored his 1,000th career point to help the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team secure the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division Regular Season Championship on Tuesday at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
Saint Anselm (20-7, 15-6 NE10) defeated visiting Stonehill (16-11, 12-9 NE10) by an 82-72 score, locking up its first NE10 Regular Season Championship since doing so in 2013-14. The Hawks have earned a first round bye and will host an NE10 Quarterfinal game on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. – Saint Anselm will host the winner of Friday's First Round fixture between Southern New Hampshire and Southern Connecticut State.
The Hawks reached 20 victories for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Saint Anselm will make its 35th appearance in the NE10 playoffs, having qualified for postseason play in all but one season since 1982-83. Saint Anselm enters the tournament as the reigning league champions after winning its eighth title in 2017.
Fortin came into the game with 983 career points and reached 1,000 points exactly with 40 seconds left in the contest, completing a three-point play with a foul shot. He becomes the 51st student-athlete in program history to reach 1,000 and the second one to do so this season, following junior Tim Guers who accomplished the feat in the season's first game.
All five starters reached double-digit points, including freshman Chris Paul who led the way with 20 points in 40 minutes to reach 300 career points in the victory. Guers was second with 19 points, followed by Fortin and his 18 alongside seven assists. Freshman Gustav Suhr-Jessen and junior Cody Ball scored 14 and 11 points, respectively. Paul and Suhr-Jessen picked up double-doubles with 13 and 12 rebounds, respectively.
Saint Anselm crept out to a 13-9 lead following a fast-break layup from Fortin with 14:29 to go in the first. Stonehill countered by scoring 15 of the game's next 19 points across the next 2:32, creating a seven-point lead following three triples from Will Moreton, including several from very long distance.
Before halftime, the Hawks cut the seven-point lead down to one before halftime as the score ended up tied on 10 separate occasions throughout the first 20 minutes. At the break, Stonehill was a dominant 10-for-15 from beyond the arc but held the lead despite 26 points in the paint for the Hawks. Saint Anselm also shot 50% (17-for-34) but could not equal Stonehill's power from distance.
Stonehill recreated an eight-point lead with 12 minutes left in regulation, leading 54-46 following a jumper from Moreton. The Hawks saw a 13-5 scoring run capped with back-to-back free throw makes from Fortin, knotting the game at 59 with 8:27 to go.
Down by one point with 5:08 to go, a layup from Paul gave Saint Anselm the lead for good as he gave his team a 67-66 advantage. Saint Anselm closed the game on a 17-6 scoring stretch and Fortin's 1,000th career point would build a clutch seven-point lead at the time it occurred. Ahead by only two as late as 2:29 left to go, Saint Anselm scored 10 of the game's final 12 points to lock down the win.
Stonehill finished the second half shooting 3-for-16 from beyond the arc (18.8%) and was outrebounded by a 23-to-18 spread. Moreton finished with an impressive double-double, scoring 22 points and adding a team-best 13 rebounds. Dan Largey scored 14 and Owen Chose tallied 12 points for Stonehill.