RINDGE, N.H. – Paced by a double-double from sophomore Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark), the nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's basketball team handed the host Ravens from Franklin Pierce University an 83-66 defeat on Sunday.
Ranked fourth in all of NCAA Division II by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the D2SIDA Media Poll, the Hawks improve upon their program-record start to the season. Saint Anselm is now 10-0, having won all six of its Northeast-10 Conference contests to date - the team entered the day as one of only nine NCAA Division II programs without a loss on the season.
Franklin Pierce (5-7, 2-5 NE10) lost to Saint Anselm on its home floor for the first time since Nov. 29, 2009. The Hawks, who move to 37-18 all-time against the Ravens, had lost eight-straight contests in Rindge before erasing the streak with Sunday's result.
Suhr-Jessen had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting a career-high mark in the latter statistic. Sophomore Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) made a career-high 12 free throws in the win, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) struck for 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Guers moves into fourth place all-time in team history with 1,868 career points, passing Roy Mabrey '15 (1,864 pts.). He needs only 132 points to reach 2,000 for his career - he would become only the third student-athlete in program history to reach that milestone.
Senior Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) tallied 11 points and six rebounds in the win with sophomore Spencer Cline (Mason, Ohio) recorded seven points in only five minutes off the bench. Junior Danny Evans (Leeds, United Kingdom) picked up seven rebounds and notched three assists.
An eight-point scoring run by Franklin Pierce opened the game but nine consecutive Hawks points followed to create a 9-8 advantage with just under five minutes elapsed. The teams traded the lead a total of nine times down the stretch in the first half before Saint Anselm put the game out of reach by scoring 16 of the first half's final 23 points to capture an eight-point lead at the break, 38-30.
Franklin Pierce kept the game within reach, outscoring Saint Anselm by a 24-18 margin to begin the second half. The Ravens strong start after the break shrunk the Hawks lead to two points, 56-54, but four-straight points from Guers rebuilt a six-point lead with 10:11 left in regulation time.
With under 7:30 to play, the Hawks' three-point advantage swelled to a 17-point advantage with a 16-2 scoring run that was highlighted by 10-straight points in just under two minutes of action. A late layup by Paul established a game-high lead of 18 points for Saint Anselm with 2:26 left.
The Hawks put the game away with 22 second-half free throw makes as 18 of the 25 total infractions whistled in the final 20 minutes were called on the Ravens. Saint Anselm enjoyed a 56-to-45 advantage in rebounding – the 56 caroms are the second-most by the Hawks since the 2001-02 campaign.
Saint Anselm heads to western New York for a high-noon showdown with Daemen on Wednesday, Jan. 2 to begin the New Year.