MANCHESTER, N.H. – Freshman Chris Paul scored a team-leading 25 points to help the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team secure a 93-86 victory over Southern Connecticut State University in a Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinals game played on Sunday.
Saint Anselm (21-7), the top seed in the Northeast Division, will advance to the NE10 Semifinals and play host to Bentley University at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 28. Southern Connecticut State, the fourth-seeded team from the Southwest Division, sees its season come to an end with a 16-12 record.
Paul secured seven rebounds alongside his 25-point performance. Senior Taylor Fortin matched Paul's seven rebounds and scored 16 points while juniors Cody Ball and Tim Guers scored 19 points apiece. Guers handed out nine assists in the victory as the Hawks combined for 22 helpers.
Paul and Guers have each logged substantial minutes for the Hawks across the previous two games, playing all 80 minutes during that stretch. Over the last three games, including an overtime loss at Saint Michael's on Feb. 17, Guers has played all but one minute while Fortin has been removed from the game only three combined minutes.
In his last six games, Paul has averaged 14 points per game and is shooting at a dominant clip. He has made 30 of his last 42 shots, making 71.4 of his attempts from the field and has averaged 6.7 rebounds during that hot offensive stretch.
Southern Connecticut State opened the game on a 9-0 scoring run that spanned the first 2:28 of regulation time. The next 5:49 was dominated by the Hawks, who scored 19 of the game's 30 points to cut the Owls lead to 20-19 following a Ball jumper with 11:53 to go in the first half.
Scoring nine points in 1:18 near the midpoint of the first half, Saint Anselm captured a 28-22 lead that grew to 42-32 with 5:10 remaining. The Owls did not quit heading into halftime, using a 16-5 scoring run that lifted the visitors to a one-point lead at halftime, 48-47.
The Hawks controlled the first 5:52 of the second half as Paul capped a 16-9 scoring drive with seven-straight points of his own. SCSU's Taurus Adams would reduce the Saint Anselm advantage to one point, completing a three-point play with 12:42 left in regulation time.
It was Fortin's turn to go on a streak as six-straight points from the senior captain pushed the Hawks lead to 80-70 with 7:51 left. A 12-4 stretch of scoring by Southern Connecticut State once again made things very interesting as the Hawks lead shrunk to 84-82, but with 4:10 left, an 8-0 stretch by Saint Anselm recreated a 10-point lead.
Ball and Paul combined for 27 of their team's 46 second-half points as the team shot a combined 58.3% in the final 20 minutes, making 14-of-24 shots. Guers had seven second-stanza assists and pulled down a team-best four rebounds.
Isaiah McLeod scored 31 points to lead the Owls. Jerry Luckett, Jr. poured home 22 points and reeled in eight caroms for SCSU – the visitors enjoyed a 37-to-31 edge in overall rebounding but committed 25 fouls to oppose only 13 infractions by Saint Anselm.