EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Saint Anselm College men's basketball team saw a historic season come to a close on Thursday in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Elite Eight Semifinals, falling to top-ranked and top-seeded Northwest Missouri State University by a 76-53 margin at the Ford Center.
Saint Anselm, winners of the East Region, cap a wildly-successful campaign with a 26-6 overall record. Northwest Missouri State (37-0), the nation's top-ranked team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the D2SIDA National Media Poll, remains undefeated and has earned a spot in Saturday's national title game against either Southern Indiana or Point Loma.
The Hawks fell in the quarterfinals of the Northeast-10 Conference tournament, but rallied to post three consecutive wins at home in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium in the NCAA Division II East Region Championship. Claiming the program's second-ever East Region title, the Hawks notched their first NCAA Elite Eight victory on Wednesday, downing fifth-ranked Nova Southeastern by a 91-81 score.
Head Coach Keith Dickson wraps up his 33rd season at Saint Anselm with 643 coaching victories, tying him with Saint Rose's Brian Beaury for the NE10 record. Dickson and the Hawks head into the 2019-20 men's basketball season in search of their eighth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.), a two-time NABC All-America selection and the reigning two-time NE10 Player of the Year, wrapped up a historic career at Saint Anselm with 23 points in the loss to the Bearcats.
He exits as the program's all-time leader in point scoring (2,327), field goals made (799), defensive rebounds (657) and minutes played (4,388). He finishes as the second leading scorer in NE10 history, moving past James Hector of American International (1990-94) in the league's record book.
Sophomore Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) recorded his sixth 20-point game of the season, finishing with 21 points. Classmate Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) picked up 10 rebounds and finished with six points. Freshman Miles Tention (Palo Alto, Calif.) scored three points and led the team with as many assists.
Northwest Missouri State's first 14 points came in the paint as they built a 14-10 advantage on Saint Anselm with 12:24 to go in the first half. The Hawks countered with a 17-8 scoring run that catapulted the fifth-seeded Hawks into the lead, 27-22, following a Tention triple.
The Bearcats put the game out of reach from that point forward, building an 11-point lead with a 23-7 scoring run that spanned just under 12 minutes, spanning the first and second halves. Paul and Guers slowed the momentum briefly with five points near the midpoint of the second, but a 10-0 run by the Bearcats upped their lead to 20 points, 60-40.
A jumper by Northwest Missouri State's Kirk Finley with 23 seconds left created a 23-point lead as time expired. Trevor Hudgins was 12-for-24 from the floor for the Bearcats, finishing with a game-high 27 points spanning 39 minutes of game play.
The Bearcats concluded the game with statistical edges in field goal percentage (53.3%-to-38.6%), points off turnovers (23-to-2) and points in the paint (54-to-30).