MANCHESTER, N.H. – For fans of NCAA Division II college basketball in New England, there is no better place to be than at Saint Anselm College this Saturday, Dec. 8 as the Hawks men's and women's basketball teams host nationally-ranked programs from Bentley University in a doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m.
The Saint Anselm men's program is ranked fourth in NCAA Division II, a program record, by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and D2SIDA. The Hawks are off to their best start since the 1998-99 campaign, opening the year with a 7-0 record. A win against Bentley, ranked 10th by D2SIDA and 14th by the NABC, would set the team record for best start (8-0).
The Hawks are one of only 13 men's basketball programs nationally without a defeat to begin the 2018-19 season. With a 17.6 scoring margin through the team's first seven contest, the Hawks are ranked 11th in NCAA Division II in that statistic. The squad's .520 field goal percentage is also 11th in the country as three Hawks student-athletes are shooting north of .500 from the floor.
Senior Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.), the reigning Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year, is averaging 21.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. All five of the Hawks starters are averaging double-digit scoring totals per game and, across the past two games, all five have scored in double-digit figures.
Sophomore Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) is second in the NE10 with a .571 field goal percentage while senior Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) is averaging 2.57 three-point field goals per game, shooting at a .462 percentage from beyond the arc. The Hawks will be up against the nation's second-best three-point field goal percentage (.467) on Saturday.
The Hawks women's program, ranked fifth in the East Region by D2SIDA, is off to a flying start in 2018-19, racking up an 8-1 overall record that most recently matches the 1998-99 program through nine games. Saint Anselm will tangle with Bentley, who is ranked third nationally by D2SIDA and fifth by the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA).
Saint Anselm is ranked second in NCAA Division II in overall rebounding (429), fourth in field-goal percentage defense (.320), eighth in assists (158) and ninth in rebounds per game (47.67). Junior Shannon Ryan (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) leads the nation in double-doubles (8) while ranking third in rebounds (121) and sixth in rebounds per game (13.4).
Sophomore Peyton Steinman (Pittsfield, Mass.) is eighth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.78), leading the NE10 in that statistic, while ranking third in steals per game with 2.89 to her credit. The Hawks will be up against the ninth-ranked field goal percentage in NCAA Division II as Bentley is shooting at a .476 clip through its first nine games.
In the friendly confines of Stoutenburgh Gymnasium, the men's program has picked up two victories in as many opportunities, improving to 71-15 at home since the start of the 2012-13 campaign. The women's program has enjoyed back-to-back seasons with at least nine wins at home entering this year, owning an overall mark of 30-14 since 2015-16.
In the spirit of the holiday (and basketball) seasons, Saint Anselm students are encouraged to dress up for the basketball home games on Saturday, Dec. 8.
All those who attend the women's or men's basketball game wearing an ugly, tacky sweater or funny Christmas costume are eligible to WIN.
At halftime of the women's basketball game and at halftime of the men's basketball game, three students dressed in their "best" sweaters or costumes will be selected to attempt a half-court shot and win a 55-inch flat screen TV!
In addition to getting to take a half-court shot, each student winner will also take home a $25 Panera gift card.