PREVIEW: Men's basketball to battle Saint Rose in NCAA First Round fixture

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Anselm College men's basketball team is making its sixth-straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Hawks, entering play as the East Region's fourth seed, will be taking on the fifth-seeded Golden Knights from the College of Saint Rose on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The First Round game will take place on the campus of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. on Ted Grant Court.
 
 
TICKETS: Tickets for all three sessions of the East Regional are available exclusively on game day at the Le Moyne Athletic Center. Session tickets provide admission for all games during that designated day. Tickets are general admission.
 
ADULTS: $10
YOUTHS: $5
SENIORS (62 years of age and older): $5
STUDENTS WITH VALID ID: $5
 
WATCH PARTY: Saint Anselm College is hosting a First Round Watch Party in the team film room located in the Carr Center. All fans are welcome to enjoy pizza and soft drinks, free of charge, at 7 p.m. just prior to the tip. The team film room is located in the lower level of the Carr Center.
 
HOW WE GOT HERE: Saint Anselm earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament after falling to Le Moyne on Saturday, Mar. 3. Saturday's loss was the 13th time in program history that Saint Anselm has made it to the conference championship game. The Hawks have won 51 games in the NE10 postseason, far and away the most of any league institution since the tournament's inception in the early 1980's.
 
The Hawks, ranked fifth in the East Region as of Feb. 28, picked up an at-large selection in part due to their positive results against regionally-ranked opponents. Despite falling to top-ranked Le Moyne twice, the Hawks defeated second-ranked Bridgeport, fourth-ranked Saint Rose, seventh-ranked Merrimack and ninth-ranked New Haven.
 
THE BENCH BOSS: Head Coach Keith Dickson is 12th among active coaches in NCAA Division II with 617 overall victories since his debut prior to the 1986-87 season. Prior to assuming the program's reins, the Hawks were a combined 0-4 in the NE10 playoffs - Saint Anselm has won 68% of its games (51-24) since his promotion to Head Coach.
 
Under Dickson's direction, Saint Anselm is making its 22nd overall appearance at the national championships, having earned a spot in the tournament in five-straight seasons leading up to the 2017-18 season. The 2016-17 regionals were held at Le Moyne - the Hawks recorded a 91-72 loss to Saint Thomas Aquinas in the First Round matchup on Saturday, Mar. 11.
 
JOUSTING WITH THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS: Earlier this season, Saint Anselm downed Saint Rose by a 79-71 margin in Manchester. Trailing by a game-high seven points late in the first half, the Hawks came storming back in the second half en route to the victory.
 
Down by a 60-54 score with 11:47 to go, a Taylor Fortin three-point basket on the very next offensive play started Saint Anselm down the winning path. His clutch shot started a 10-point stretch of Hawks scoring, giving the hosts a lead they would not relinquish.
 
Saint Rose would cut the Saint Anselm lead to five points as late as with 1:51 left in regulation time but three made free throws by the Hawks put the game out of reach.
 
ALL-TIME vs. SAINT ROSE: The Hawks lead the all-time series against Saint Rose by a 20-14 margin since the first-ever meeting between both programs on Dec. 29, 1989.  The Hawks have won eight of the last nine matchups dating back to Jan. 3, 2012.
 
The Golden Knights and Hawks have battled in two NCAA Tournament games, the first taking place on Mar. 12, 1995 in the NCAA New England Regionals hosted by then-New England College. Saint Anselm picked up a 109-92 win over the Golden Knights in a consolation meeting after the day prior's 84-82 loss to Philadelphia Textile.
 
The very next season, Saint Rose handed the Hawks two of its only three losses of the 1995-96 campaign - the second loss to the Golden Knights came in the NCAA Regionals by an 87-76 margin where Darren Clough '96 was his team's leading scorer with 19. Saint Anselm finished the year with a 28-3 overall record with the other loss coming to NCAA Division I Drexel.
 
TIM TERRIFIC: Junior Tim Guers was selected as the Northeast-10 Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year on Monday, Feb. 26. He became the seventh Player of the Year honoree from Saint Anselm in conference history.
 
Entering Saturday's NCAA First Round contest, Guers needs only six points to crack the all-time top 10 list in program history for career point scoring. He has registered 1,639 points across 90 career games, trailing Joe Ingegneri's '00 mark of 1,645 career points that stands as the 10th most in team history. His single-season mark of 656 points this year is the second-most in a season, trailing only Chris Madigan's '90 705 points scored in 1990.
 
Guers also collected NE10 First Team All-Conference while Ball was named to the league's Third Team. Fortin was one of five selections to the Honorable Mention All-Conference team and Paul was an All-Rookie team nod.
 
Guers, the first Player of the Year selection from Saint Anselm since current Assistant Coach Chris Santo '15, is in the midst of a stellar junior season. The former NE10 Rookie of the Year is averaging a career-high 21.9 points per game, scoring 656 points across 30 contests to date. Guers has posted double-digit point scoring totals in 28 of the 30 games played so far this year.
 
Ranking fourth in the NE10 in points per game (21.9) and rebounds per game (7.5), Guers has also tallied 5.5 assists per game to rank fifth in the league after tallying seven or more assists in 13 games on the season. The four-time NE10 Player of the Week selection in 2017-18 also picked up First Team All-Conference honors for the second-straight season.
 
On a national scale, Guers is ranked seventh in minutes played (1,136), ninth in field goals attempted (495) and 10th in minutes per game (37.9). His 656 points are the 13th most in NCAA Division II to date and he is 24th in points per game (21.9). His 5.5 assists are the 31st-most in the division. His 41-point performance earlier in the season against Adelphi ranks him within the top-30 in NCAA Division II in single-game points leaders in 2017-18.
 
Guers, a native of Langhorne, Pa., scored his 1,000th career point on Nov. 11, 2017 against Concordia (N.Y.) and has recorded 20-plus points in a game in 33 of his 90 career games. He has scored 1,639 career points entering Saturday's contest and his 18.2 career points per game is ninth in team history (min. 20 games).
 
KEEP YOUR EYES ON BALL: Junior Cody Ball earned All-Conference recognition for the first time in 2017-18. The reigning NE10 Tournament Most Valuable Player is enjoying a stellar junior season, averaging a career-high 14.9 points per game by pouring home just over 45% of his three-point attempts on the year (91-for-200). He was also recently named to the NE10 All-Tournament team along with Guers for his strong performance.
 
Ranked fourth in the NE10 in three-point field goal percentage (.455), Ball is 14th nationally with a .455 three-point field goal percentage and his 90 treys this season is the 23rd-most in Division II to date. Ball has also contributed defensively with a personal single-season record of 143 rebounds and 23 blocks.
 
For his career, Ball, who hails from nearby Londonderry, N.H., has appeared in 90 games and recently became the third student-athlete this season to reach 1,000 career points. He is the team's active leader in career field goal percentage with a .474 mark (371-for-783).
 
TAYLOR MADE: Fortin, from Tolland, Conn., received NE10 Honorable Mention distinction for the second-straight season. The senior captain recently scored his 1,000th career point and has dished out 189 assists on the year, crossing the 400-career assist milestone against Southern Connecticut State on Feb. 25 to begin the NE10 postseason. His 6.3 assists per game is currently the 14th-best figure in Division II.
 
Ranking eighth all-time with 417 career assists, Fortin has registered 24 career games with seven or more helpers. He is averaging 9.5 points per game across 111 career appearances in a Hawks uniform and has recorded 14.3 per contest in 2017-18. Fortin and Guers are responsible for Saint Anselm ranking 10th nationally in total assists (554) and ninth in assists per game (18.5).
 
PAUL-ITICS: Freshman Chris Paul captured NE10 All-Rookie Team distinction following a successful freshman campaign that saw him win two league Rookie of the Week (Jan. 8, Jan. 15) awards.
 
In his freshman season on the Hilltop, Paul has started all 30 games for the Hawks, averaging 11.6 points, six rebounds and 1.2 assists in 29.6 minutes per game. Paul has 17 double-digit scoring performances to his credit this season, including 15 in the last 19 games, and four 20-plus-point outings. The Highland Mills, N.Y. product is shooting 67.2% (37-for-55) from the field over his last seven games and has scored 48 total points over the last three games.
 
SAINT ANSELM SNIPPETS: As a team, Saint Anselm is ranked fourth in NCAA Division II in fewest fouls committed (398) and fifth defensive rebounds per game (29.93). The team's collective assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.50 is ranked 13th in the country.
 
GETTING IT DONE AT HOME: To date, Dickson's charges have won 15 of its last 16 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 24 of 28 games in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium and, since the start of the 2012-13 season, Saint Anselm is 69-15.
 
CONGRATULATIONS COACH: 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 (617) and winning percentage (.654). 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.
 
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 but one of its games (Mar. 3 at Le Moyne, NE10 Championship game).