PREVIEW: Men's basketball hosts Southern Connecticut State in NE10 Quarterfinals

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Anselm College men's basketball team will play host to the Owls from Southern Connecticut State University on Sunday, Feb. 25 in the Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinals, held in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium. The Hawks and Owls will tip at 3 p.m. in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.

LINKS: NE10 Championship Home | NE10 Release / Bracket | Saint Anselm Game Notes (PDF) | Southern Connecticut State Game Notes (PDF) | Live Stats | Live Video

Saint Anselm is making 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. The Hawks have reached 20 victories for the fifth time in the last six seasons after Tuesday's 82-72 victory over Stonehill at home.
 
HOW SCSU GOT HERE: Entering the postseason as the No. 4 seed out of the Southwest Division, the Owls came from behind to knock off visiting Southern New Hampshire University on Friday by a 76-74 score. With two of Southern New Hampshire's leading scorers out of the contest, the Owls took full advantage and won the game on an inbounds play with 0.4 seconds left in regulation time.
 
EARLIER THIS SEASON: Six Hawks reached double-digit scoring totals in a 93-69 victory over Southern Connecticut State earlier this season on Jan. 9, lifting the Hawks to their seventh-straight win of the season.
 
Senior Taylor Fortin led the Hawks with 19 points and 11 assists, going 7-for-7 at the free throw line. Junior Tim Guers scored all 18 of his points in the first half and classmate Cody Ball picked up 15 points. Freshmen Chris Paul and Gustav Suhr-Jessen notched 13 points – first-year Spencer Cline joined in the scoring with 10 points, scoring seven alone in a 1:50 window to end the first half.
 
Saint Anselm trailed by a game-high eight points in the game's first 4:24 but went on a 20-2 scoring run down the stretch in the first half, taking a 43-24 lead after another Fortin three-point basket. Cline put home a trey with only three seconds left in the first half, sending Saint Anselm to the locker room up by 20 points, 53-33.
 
A stout Hawks defense limited the Owls to only 30.8% shooting from the floor (12-for-39) in the opening 20 minutes. Dominating the paint by a 22-to-13 margin, the Hawks missed only two of their 12 free throws and made seven three's to open up a lead they would not relinquish throughout the game.
 
Cline later pushed the Saint Anselm lead to a game-high 37 points after a three-pointer with 4:52 left in the game. Southern Connecticut State scored 11 points after Cline's shot, but the Hawks would hold on to the win by keeping the Owls at 34.1% shooting in the second half.
 
Isaiah McLeod led Southern Connecticut State with 28 points and Ulyen Coleman struck for 19 points. The Owls shot 50% from the charity stripe (8-for-16) but held the advantage in overall rebounding, 45-to-43, courtesy of 22 offensive rebounds.
 
TAYLOR MADE: Fortin scored his 1,000th career point in his team's victory over Stonehill. He entered 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 Guers who accomplished the feat in the season's first game.
 
He will be recognized for his accomplishment with a brief ceremony prior to Sunday's NE10 Quarterfinal game. He also stands only one assist shy of 400 in his career and if he nets more than three against Southern Connecticut State on Sunday, he jumps to ninth place in team history. His 6.3 assists per game is 14th nationally.
 
STOPPING STONEHILL: All five starters reached double-digit points, including 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. Suhr-Jessen and Ball scored 14 and 11 points, respectively. Paul and Suhr-Jessen picked up double-doubles with 13 and 12 rebounds, respectively.
 
KEEP YOUR EYES ON BALL: Ball, native of nearby Londonderry, N.H., recently scored his 400th point of the season which stands as a single-season record for him. He needs only 40 additional points to reach 1,000 for his career and, if done so this season, he would be the third Hawks player to crack 1,000 points in 2017-18. His 15.1 points per game in 2017-18 is a single-season record for Ball as he averaged 13.2 points per game last year.
 
GUERS IN MOTION: Guers is in the midst of a stellar junior campaign, averaging a career-high 21.9 points per game. Entering Sunday, Guers has scored 592 points on the season, reaching at least 500 points for the second-straight year. He ranks fourth in the NE10 in points per game (21.9) and third in rebounding per game (7.6). His 5.1 assists per game is the fifth-best total in the league. His 1,016 minutes played is tops in the NE10 and by averaging just over 37.5 minutes per game this season, he ranks 11th in NCAA Division II.
 
SAINT ANSELM SNIPPETS: Saint Anselm is second in NCAA Division II with only 361 fouls committed on the year, the second-fewest by qualifying teams. The Hawks are also fourth in the country with 30.44 defensive rebounds per game. The other two top-10 rankings in the division for Saint Anselm come in assists per game (18.5, 9th) and in total assists (499, 9th).
 
RANK AND FILE: The men's basketball team at Saint Anselm was ranked sixth in the East Region, according to the most recently released NCAA regional rankings on Feb. 21. A complete list of the East Region's rankings can be found to the left.
 
GETTING IT DONE AT HOME: To date, Keith Dickson's charges have won 13 of its last 14 games played on the Hilltop, losing the only game by one point (vs. Southern N.H., Nov. 29). Since the start of last season, the Hawks have won 22 of 26 games in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium and, since the start of the 2012-13 season, Saint Anselm is 67-15.
 
ALL-TIME vs. SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE: The Hawks are 27-13 in the all-time series against Southern Connecticut State. Dating back to 1993, the Hawks have won 11 of the last 13 games played against the Owls in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium. 
 
CONGRATULATIONS KEITH DICKSON: Saint Anselm defeated LIU Post by a 91-67 margin on Sunday, Nov. 26 in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium, handing Dickson his 600th career coaching victory. Across a 32-year career as a Head Coach, Dickson ranks 12th among active NCAA Division II coaches in overall wins. Across all three NCAA divisions, he becomes only the 92nd coach in the history of the NCAA to register at least 600 wins.
 
Since his selection as Head Coach prior to the 1986-87 season, Dickson stands as the all-time winningest coach in program history in terms of overall wins (600) and winning percentage (.652). He has led the Hawks to eight Northeast-10 Conference Championships and 17 appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
 
Dickson has been named NE10 Coach of the Year on four separate occasions and was selected as the New England Basketball Coaches' Association Coach of the Year in 1996. The National Association of Basketball Coaches recognized Dickson as the East Region's Coach of the Year in 1996 and 2013.
 
TIM TERRIFIC: Guers became the 41st student-athlete in team history to reach 1,000 career points, accomplishing that feat against Concordia (N.Y.) on Nov. 11, 2017. Guers scored 29 points against the Clippers, giving him 1,012 career points exiting the season-opening loss. He was the second-straight Hawks player to score their 1,000th point in Bentley's Dana Center as Harrison Taggart '17 accomplished the feat on Feb. 18, 2017.
 
BOARD GAMES: Against Georgian Court on Nov. 12, Saint Anselm reeled in 56 rebounds which stands as the most in a single game since at least the 2003-04 season. Green picked up 13 of those 56 caroms off the bench, setting a career-high mark in the process. To date, Saint Anselm has secured at least 30 rebounds in all of its games.
 
PRESEASON POLL RESULTS: Fresh off a Northeast-10 Conference Championship in 2016-17, the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team was projected to finish first in the Northeast Division, according to the conference's annual Preseason Coaches Poll.
 
Saint Anselm racked up 94 total points following a vote of the league's coaches, earning six first-place votes. Merrimack earned seven first-place votes, but ranked one point behind the Hawks to place second overall. Southern New Hampshire rounded out the first place votes, collecting two, while placing third with 79 points.
 
In the Southwest Division, Le Moyne earned 91 points and 13 out of a possible 15 first place votes to rank first. New Haven and Adelphi finished second and third, respectively, with the Chargers tallying 71 points and a first place vote and the Panthers securing 57 total points to place third.
 
The Hawks posted 20 victories for the fourth time in the last five seasons in 2016-17, earning the program's eighth NE10 Tournament Championship last March. The team also made its fifth-consecutive NCAA Division II Tournament appearance for the first time in program history and its 21st overall.