AMHERST, N.Y. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's basketball team recorded its first loss of the 2018-19 campaign on Tuesday, falling to the host Wildcats from Daemen College by a 78-72 margin at the Lumsden Gymnasium.
Saint Anselm, ranked fourth in all of NCAA Division II by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the D2SIDA National Media Poll, falls to 10-1 overall on the year. Daemen, receiving votes in the NABC Poll and ranked fourth in the D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, also moves to 10-1 on the year. The Hawks are saddled with only their first regular-season regulation loss since a 70-67 setback on Feb. 6, 2018 at Assumption.
Sophomore Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) matched a career-high mark with 20 points for the Hawks, pouring home four of his team's nine three-point baskets. Through only 11 games this season, Suhr-Jessen passed his three-point production from last season, making 18 triples in 2018-19 after making 17 in 31 contests last season.
Classmate Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) had 11 points and eight rebounds with junior Danny Evans (Leeds, United Kingdom) picking up eight rebounds and six points. Senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) scored 16 points, hauling in 10 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. He also handed out seven assists, passing Jeff Dickson '08 to earn the 10th spot on the all-time career assists list with 414.
Guers exited play with 1,884 career points across 102 games and needs only 116 points to reach 2,000 for his career – he would become only the third student-athlete to reach that milestone in team history and the first since 2018-19 Athletics Hall of Fame nominee Matt Cahill '06.
The Hawks opened with seven of the game's first nine points, building a 7-2 lead that included triples from Suhr-Jessen and Evans. The early gains for Saint Anselm were erased with a 15-2 scoring run by Daemen, but the Hawks responded by tallying 28 of the tilt's next 10 points to capture a 10-point advantage shortly into the second half, 37-27.
Daemen limited Saint Anselm to only 13 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, building a comeback and eventually earning its first lead of the stanza with a Deion Hamilton trey with 11:54 to go in regulation time. Guers and freshman Miles Tention (Palo Alto, Calif.) later made a trey and a fast-break layup, respectively, to tie the game and take a two-point lead, 55-53, with 8:16 left.
The game was put out of reach shortly thereafter with a 9-0 run by Daemen that was keyed by three's from Hamilton. In that span, Saint Anselm was 0-for-2 from the floor and the Wildcats picked up two key offensive boards that led to the final three-pointer by Hamilton, establishing a 62-55 advantage with 5:58 left.
Down by seven points, 66-59, with under five minutes left, an 8-0 spurt by Saint Anselm put the visitors ahead, 67-66, with a three-pointer from Suhr-Jessen. On the very next possession, Daemen's Jeff Redband connected from long distance and a jumper in the paint by Hamilton after a Hawks miss established a late four-point lead that swelled to six points as time expired.
Hamilton led student-athletes from both sides with 26 points, posting nine rebounds to match Redband for the team lead in that statistic. Daemen reeled in 11 offensive rebounds and held the edge, 45-35, in overall rebounding. Saint Anselm outshot its opponent from the field (41.9%-to-39.7%) but the hosts enjoyed a 12-4 advantage in second-chance points.
Saint Anselm heads to Assumption this Saturday, Jan. 5 for a 3:30 p.m. showdown with the Greyhounds.