SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Saint Anselm College men's basketball team was defeated by the Golden Knights from the College of Saint Rose by an 83-71 margin in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball First Round game played on the campus of Le Moyne College.
Saint Rose improves to 21-9 on the year, advancing to take on the host Dolphins at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 11. The Hawks, who reached 20 overall victories for the fifth time in the last six seasons, concludes the year with a 22-9 overall record.
Senior Taylor Fortin paced the Hawks with 18 points in his final collegiate game, handing out six assists. Freshman Chris Paul potted 16 points and tied with junior Cody Ball for the team-lead with six rebounds. Freshman Gustav Suhr-Jessen notched 12 points for the Hawks.
Fortin finished an outstanding career at Saint Anselm with 423 assists, ranking eighth all-time in program history. Senior Austin Nydegger also played in his final career contest, tying for fourth in all-time program history with a 45.8% three-point field goal percentage (min. 25 made).
Down by one point with seven minutes to go in the first half, Saint Rose powered past the Hawks with a three-point basket by Jamaal Greenwood and did not relinquish the lead from there on out.
After Saint Rose scored the first basket of the game, the Hawks ran off a 9-0 scoring run to open up a 9-2 advantage. Suhr-Jessen was fed by Fortin for the final two layups of that stretch, helping the Hilltoppers to the early advantage.
Saint Rose scored 15 of the game's next 22 points, forcing four Saint Anselm turnovers across the next 5:36 to eventually put the Golden Knights ahead by one point, 17-16, with 11:48 to go in the first half.
The Hawks led by one point, 30-29, with exactly seven minutes to go in the first half but Saint Rose maintained a lead down the stretch. Fortin would end the first stanza with a game-high 13 points, including six in the final six-plus minutes, with Suhr-Jessen trailing the senior captain with 10 of his own.
Saint Anselm ended up cutting the lead to two points prior to halftime and had a chance to knot the score at 42, but a layup attempt as time expired rolled off the front of the rim.
Saint Anselm shot 60.9% through the game's first 20 minutes, pouring home five treys, but Saint Rose controlled the paint by a 24-to-16 margin and shot just under the Hawks' percentage from the floor (56.7%).
Saint Rose continued its offensive onslaught in the second half, making three of its first six shots to open the half on a 9-6 scoring run. At the same time, Saint Anselm simply could not gain any offensive traction, making only 4-of-12 field goals eight minutes into the second half.
Upon creating a double-digit lead with 8:51 to go, Saint Rose kept the Hawks at arm's length and matched Saint Anselm point-for-point. In the final nine-plus minutes of action, the Golden Knights outscored Saint Anselm by an 18-to-15 spread to hold on to its double-digit advantage in the second half.
Saint Rose was led by a 21-point performance by Matt Cerutti who also picked up nine rebounds. Julian Lipinski scored 19 points for the Golden Knights who finished with a 50% field goal percentage (30-for-60).