MANCHESTER, N.H. – Six student-athletes reached double-digit point scoring totals for the nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's basketball team, lifting the Hawks to a convincing 96-64 victory over visiting Franklin Pierce University on Wednesday.
Ranked 17th in NCAA Division II by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the D2SIDA Men's Basketball National Media Poll, improves to 17-3 overall and to 13-2 against Northeast-10 Conference opponents. Franklin Pierce sees its overall record evened at 11-11 while falling below .500 in league play, dipping to 7-8 against the conference.
Sophomore Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) and senior Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) each scored 18 points. Senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) reached 16 points, handing out five assists, with junior Danny Evans (Leeds, United Kingdom) also handing out five helpers while tallying 11 points and six rebounds.
Sophomore Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) scored 11 points, picking up six rebounds, with freshman Miles Tention (Palo Alto, Calif.) posting a career-high 15 points with a 6-for-8 performance from the floor. Paul and Ball also notched six rebounds while Suhr-Jessen fell two caroms shy of a double-double, bringing down eight rebounds.
Franklin Pierce captured a game-high lead of three points with 5:33 elapsed in the game as back-to-back free throws from Taji Owens created the advantage. Trailing by an 11-8 score, Saint Anselm never looked back after using a 13-to-2 scoring run to take a 21-13 lead with 10:34 to go in the first half. Tention had the clutch three-pointer, creating that eight-point bulge.
In front by only six points with 8:23 left in the opening half, a 16-to-4 scoring stretch by Saint Anselm, fueled by two triples from Tention, boosted the hosts to a 41-23 lead with 3:21 remaining in the opener. The Hawks finished the first half with 18 points off of nine Franklin Pierce miscues while also controlling the paint scoring, edging the Ravens by a 24-to-16 margin under the rim.
Saint Anselm scored 22 of the second half's first 29 points, moving to a game-high lead of 32 points following an Evans jumper in the paint. A late triple by freshman Joey Belli (Wayne, N.J.) with 31 seconds to go recreated that lead as time expired. In the final 20 minutes alone, the Hawks enjoyed a 25-to-12 edge in rebounding.
The Hawks made 18-of-21 free throws, finishing north of 85% for the game from the charity stripe, and accumulated 20 of the game's 27 assists. Franklin Pierce, who was led by 17 points from Trent Dixon, shot 37.9% from the floor (25-for-66) and was outrebounded by a 46-to-26 for the game.
Saint Anselm will take on the second place team in the NE10's Northeast Division on Saturday, Feb. 9. The Hawks head to North Andover, Mass. for a 3 p.m. showdown with the Warriors from Merrimack College.