PREVIEW: No. 18/13 men's basketball to host Southern Conn. St. in NE10 Quarterfinals

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's basketball team will be making its 36th appearance in the Northeast-10 Conference playoffs this Sunday, Mar. 3. The top-seeded Hawks will host the fourth-seeded Owls from Southern Connecticut State at 3 p.m. in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.

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Ranked first in the East Region of NCAA Division II and 18th in the country by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Hawks enter the NE10 postseason with a five-game winning streak and an overall record of 22-4. Saint Anselm won the league's Regular Season Championship with a final NE10 record of 18-3, matching a program record for conference victories.

Southern Connecticut State had a come-from-behind victory over fifth-seeded Stonehill in the NE10 First Round fixture played on Friday, overcoming a 13-point deficit to capture an 80-75 win over the Skyhawks. Earlier in the year, Saint Anselm rolled to a 113-99 win over the Owls on the road after posting 65 first-half points, finishing with over 110 points scored for only the fifth time since the 2000-01 season.

When playing at the friendly confines of Stoutenburgh Gymnasium, the Hawks have won three-straight postseason contests and are a combined 79-16 (.831) at home since the start of the 2012-13 season.

TICKET INFORMATION: Adults will be charged $8 with children and senior citizen tickets for $5. Students with a valid ID from an NE10 program will be admitted for $1. Saint Anselm students will be admitted free of charge, courtesy of the Department of Athletics.

LAST TIME OUT: Saint Anselm cruised to a 87-63 victory over Stonehill on Tuesday at Merkert Gymnasium.

Senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) scored 24 points alongside eight rebounds and six assists and a team-best two steals. Junior Danny Evans (Leeds, United Kingdom) and sophomore Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) scored 18 and 16 points, respectively, and sophomore Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) picked up seven rebounds for the Hawks. Paul finished the day eclipsing last season's point scoring total of 365.

The Hawks finished the game shooting 55% from the floor, making 33-of-60 shots, while hitting eight three-point baskets and missing only two of their 15 shots from the charity stripe. The Hawks owned the 37-to-27 edge in rebounding and dominated the paint, scoring 46 points under the basket.

SCOUTING SAINT ANSELM:  

  • Saint Anselm has been ranked by the NABC and the D2SIDA National Media Poll throughout the season, earning a program-record No. 4 ranking by the NABC on Nov. 21 after opening the season with a 4-0 record.
  • The Hawks began their campaign with a program record-setting 10 straight victories before falling to one of the East Region's top teams, Daemen, to begin the 2019 calendar year. Since that defeat, Saint Anselm has won 12 of its last 15 games that includes five-straight wins heading into the league playoffs.
  • As a team, the Hawks are ranked fifth in NCAA Division II in defensive rebounds per game (30.35). Saint Anselm leads the NE10 in many statistical categories, including but not limited to points per game (83.9), scoring margin (12.5), rebound margin (4.7), field goal percentage defense (41.1), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.31) and overall rebounds per game (39.08).
  • Guers, a Preseason All-America selection, is averaging 21.7 points per game to rank second in the NE10. He recently set the College's all-time career scoring record and enters play on Sunday with 2,191 points across 116 games on the Hilltop. His 18.9 career points per game is the second-best mark in program history.
  • Paul is second on the Hawks with 14.2 points per game, shooting just under 50% from the floor and recording exactly six rebounds per contest. He began the season with at least nine points in each of his first 11 games and has posted at least six points in all of his games on the year.
  • Senior Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) is averaging 13.3 points per game for the Hawks, shooting just under 49% from the floor and converting from beyond the arc at 41.1%. Averaging a career-best 5.2 rebounds per game, Ball is 14th in the NE10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8) after handing out 83 assists against only 45 turnovers.
  • Suhr-Jessen averages 7.2 rebounds per game, ranking ninth in the NE10. After posting 6.6 points per game as a freshman, Suhr-Jessen has exploded for 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a second-year member of the Hawks roster. He has also proven himself as a capable shooter from distance, making at least three treys in a game on six occasions.
  • Evans has played in 26 games on the year, averaging 9.6 points and shooting north of 50.3% from the floor while notching 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest. He has started all 26 games that he has played in after transferring from the University of Maine last summer.
  • Freshman Miles Tention (Palo Alto, Calif.) has seen the most action off the bench for the Hawks, averaging 5.4 points per game and making 27 three-point baskets, the third-most on the roster. Against Saint Michael's on Feb. 23, he made five triples and finished with a career-high 23 points.
  • Sophomores Spencer Cline (Mason, Ohio) and Alonzo Jackson (Medford, Mass.) have seen ample minutes off the bench, with the latter posting 5.5 points per game and leading the team with 23 rejections on the year.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE:

  • The Owls come to the Queen City with an 18-11 overall record and finished the year with a 12-8 record against league opponents.
  • Southern Connecticut State leads all NE10 programs in points scored (2,408), field goals made per game (30.5) and three-point field goal percentage (40.6%). Opponents, however, are scoring 77.3 points per game and shooting nearly 38% from three-point distance, ranking near the bottom of the league.
  • The Owls have made double-digit "three's" in 18 games so far this year, including a game-high 19 makes against LIU Post near the midpoint of the season. Southern Connecticut State has posted at least 10 made treys in all but one of their last 11 games.
  • Prior to Friday's first round playoff game, the Owls ranked 16th in NCAA Division II with a 40.5% three-point field goal percentage which tops all NE10 programs. Isaiah McLeod and his nealy 46% field goal rate from beyond the arc ranks first in the conference and 15th among qualifying student-athletes in the nation.
  • McLeod, who also averages 21.4 points per game, is a proficient free throw shooter, making north of 90% of his attempts at the free throw line to lead the NE10 and rank 11th in NCAA Division II. His 51.6% field goal percentage is the 11th-best figure in the conference.
  • Kealen Ives boasts a 1.85 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages 5.9 assists per game, ranking in the top five of NE10 student-athletes. He also logs just under 35 minutes per game, trailing McLeod by just under a minute.
  • Luke Beesley ranks in the top-10 in conference play with 8.3 rebounds per game and 24 total blocks. His 217 rebounds is the fifth-best figure in the NE10.

NE10 POSTSEASON ALL-TIME:

  • Saint Anselm has won eight NE10 postseason championships, the most by any league member since its inception in 1980-81. In all-time championship tournament play, the Hawks have posted a 51-29 overall record (.638) and have made it to the semifinals 23 times prior.
  • The last conference championship came in 2016-17 where the Hawks handed Southern New Hampshire, the Northeast Division champions, a 73-68 loss on their own court. Ball was named the Most Valuable Player of the NE10 Championship for his efforts.
  • The Owls will be making their 10th appearance in the NE10 postseason, joining the league prior to the 2000-01 season. They own a 4-8 record all-time in postseason play, winning an NE10 title in 2013-14.

HEAD COACHES:

  • Head Coach Keith Dickson is in the midst of his 33rd season on the Hilltop and owns a 639-332 (.658) all-time record at Saint Anselm. He ranks sixth among active NCAA Division II men's basketball coaches with 639 victories and is 16th in all-time Division II wins.
  • Dickson is one win shy of tying Southern N.H. coach Stan Spirou, who racked up 640 wins in 33 wins across town for the Penmen. He stands four victories away from matching long-time Saint Rose coach Brian Beaury for the all-time record in wins among Northeast-10 Conference coaches with 643.
  • A four-time winner of Northeast-10 Coach of the Year honors, Dickson has led his team to 13 Northeast-10 Tournament Championship game appearances and eight tournament championships, which are both league records.
  • Scott Burrell is in the midst of his fourth season at Southern Connecticut State and possesses an overall record of 74-44 (.627).
  • The 2016 ECAC Coach of the Year, Burrell produced back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths to begin his tenure. He also played professional basketball from 1993 to 2006 in the National Basketball Association.

ALL-TIME vs. SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE:

  • Saint Anselm owns a 29-14 lead in the all-time series over Southern Connecticut State, winning each of the last five meetings.
  • In 2017-18, the Hawks ended the Owls' campaign in the NE10 Quarterfinals for the second consecutive season, handing Southern Connecticut State a 93-86 loss.
  • In the postseason, the Owls and Hawks have met twice in the league championship and twice in the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA's, Southern Connecticut State most recently edged the Hawks in the regional title game, 78-72, in 2013-14.