Men's basketball earns first-ever NCAA Elite Eight win, downing Nova Southeastern

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Saint Anselm College, competing in only its second NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Elite Eight, earned a 91-81 victory over Nova Southeastern University on Wednesday at the Ford Center.

Box Score | Video Highlights | Press Conference

Saint Anselm, ranked 20th in NCAA Division II by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, improves to 26-5 with its first-ever win in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. Nova Southeastern, the fifth-ranked team in the land and the South Region champions, sees its season come to a close at 29-4.

The first East Region institution to secure an Elite Eight victory since 2012, Saint Anselm will take on the winner of Tuesday's 3:30 p.m. contest between top-seeded Northwest Missouri State and eighth-seeded Mercyhurst. The game is scheduled to tip at 6:00 p.m. CST (7:00 p.m. EST) on Wednesday. The contest will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network - for the CBS Sports Network Channel Finder, click here.

Senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.), who was named an NABC All-America selection earlier in the week, scored 31 points and handed out a team-best seven assists in the victory. Senior Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) scored 16 points, pulling down six rebounds, and sophomore Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) matched Ball's 16 points and hauled in 11 rebounds.

Sophomore Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) had 11 rebounds and nine points in the winning effort, playing 37 minutes alongside Guers, with junior Danny Evans (Leeds, United Kingdom) recording 10 points in 18 minutes. Sophomore Alonzo Jackson (Medford, Mass.) had two points in seven minutes off the bench and freshman Miles Tention (Palo Alto, Calif.) produced seven points as a reserve.

The Hawks poured home 16 three-point baskets in the win, a season-high mark. Saint Anselm also finished the game with the second-most treys in any Elite Eight game, coming up shy of the all-time record of 23 (Troy vs. Southern N.H., 1993).

Head Coach Keith Dickson, in his 33rd season on the Hilltop, has now matched the all-time Northeast-10 Conference record for coaching victories (643-333). He matches long-time Saint Rose bench boss Brian Beaury, who guided the Golden Knights to a 643-325 record across 32 seasons.

Down by a 5-3 margin early in the game, the Hawks fired off 13 of the game's next 16 points to build a 16-8 advantage with 13:38 to go. Saint Anselm opened up its first double-digit lead thanks to consecutive triples from Guers and Evans with under nine minutes to go, creating a 32-21 bulge.

The Hawks grew their lead to a game-high 15 points with 4:21 left in the opening half following a Tention trey. Nova Southeastern closed the half with a strong answer, notching 15 of the final 22 points before a last-second Guers heave from well beyond the arc recreated a seven-point lead, 52-45, at halftime.

Through the game's first 20 minutes, the Hawks connected on 11 of their 19 shots from beyond the arc. Nova Southeastern finished the first half by making their final five field goals, bringing the rebounds even at 18 heading into halftime. The Sharks controlled the paint, scoring 26 of their 45 points under the basket, but Saint Anselm potted nine points off of three Nova Southeastern first-half miscues.

Nova Southeastern opened the second half strong, cutting the Hawks lead to five points, 57-52, but the Hawks pulled away thanks to a 23-9 scoring run over the next nine-plus minutes. Ahead by a 80-61 margin with under eight minutes left, the Sharks made a late run but never reduced the Hawks lead to less than nine points.

The Sharks were led by 31 points and 13 rebounds from Mark Matthews, who played all 40 minutes.