MANCHESTER, N.H. – In a rematch of last season's Northeast-10 Conference title game, the nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's basketball team was saddled with a 69-65 loss to the Dolphins from Le Moyne College on Saturday.
The Hawks, ranked 14th in the NCAA Division II National Coaches Poll by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, falls to 15-3 overall and to 11-2 against Northeast-10 Conference opponents. Le Moyne moves to 10-7 on the year and to 7-5 versus the league – the Dolphins have won three-straight games against the Hawks dating back to last season.
Saint Anselm, who also saw its 18-game winning streak snapped with the result, was led by a 22-point performance by senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.). He also added six rebounds and a team-leading four assists to pace the Hawks offensively, playing all 40 minutes. Sophomores Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) and Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Le Moyne built an early nine-point lead near the midway point of the first half, building a 19-10 lead with an 11-0 scoring run that was capped by a Malik Garner layup in the paint. Saint Anselm would cut the deficit to one point at the break, 33-32, with a strong 22-14 finish to the stanza. Guers posted 13 points for the Hawks, leading the way through 20 minutes.
Saint Anselm scored 15 of the second half's first 24 points, creating a five-point lead with 13:15 to go in regulation time. Ahead by a 47-42 margin at that point, the Dolphins rebounded to capture a four point lead, 58-54, with 8:31 to go with a 16-7 run.
Suhr-Jessen and Ball had back-to-back layups, tying the game at 58 with 5:47 remaining – it was the 10th tie score in the game. Le Moyne followed up the deadlock with eight of the game's next 11 points, securing the lead for good.
The Hawks made it interesting late in the game, cutting the deficit to one point, 66-65, with 13 seconds to go. Forced to foul, Garner made one of two free throws and gave Saint Anselm the chance to win it in the waning seconds. Freshman Miles Tention (Palo Alto, Calif.) sent the inbounds pass and a shot went up, but Tom Brown for Le Moyne threw up a block and Ryan Roland secured the defensive rebound.
With 1.6 seconds left on the clock, trailing by four after back-to-back Roland free throw makes, a last-second desperation heave by Guers fell wide of the hoop.
Kobi Nwandu scored 20 points, leading the Dolphins as one of four double-digit point scorers. Garner finished with 15 points for Le Moyne with Brown finishing the day with a team-leading eight rebounds.
The Hawks head to Saint Rose for a 7:30 p.m. contest this Wednesday, Jan. 30 before hosting Franklin Pierce on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.