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January 26. 2013 9:25PM

Men's Basketball: Youthful SNHU cagers edged in OT by Adelphi

MANCHESTER - The Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team is coming of age while competing in nail-biting close Northeast-10 Conference contests.

On Saturday, the Penmen dropped a close one to Adelphi University, 65-64, in overtime. With 461 fans holding their collective breath inside the SNHU Fieldhouse, junior co-captain Mike Stys missed a last-gasp shot just outside the paint with two Panthers clinging to his jersey.

Stys, a junior from Hooksett hit the game-winning shot in the closing seconds of a road win at Pace University last Wednesday.

The game featured 24 lead changes and 13 ties. SNHU held a three-point lead with 68 seconds left in regulation, but couldn't maintain the advantage.

"For a young team we're doing OK,'' said Stys, who led the Penmen with 16 points, dropping the club's record to 11-6 (7-6 NE-10). "Obviously we're not satisfied. We've got a lot of things to improve coming down the stretch."

SNHU is young. Pelham senior Billy Marsden is the lone senior on the Penmen roster, a club coaches ranked 12th in the 16-team NE-10 Conference's preseason poll. But they've more than held their own, entering Saturday's game having won six of the last eight games.

Freshman Rodney Sanders scored 14 points and hit two clutch free throws, giving his club a one-point lead with 14 seconds left in overtime. Sophomore B.J. Carderelli netted 14 points and kept the club in OT with an offensive rebound and two free throws.

Sophomore Elijah Bonsignore had 12 points, nine rebounds and blocked four shots against a bigger, more experienced club. Senior-dominated Alelphi (10-9, 7-6 NE-10) came to the SNHU Fieldhouse having won six of seven.

Coach Stan Spiriou believes this club may be one of the youngest he's coached in his 28 seasons at SNHU

"We do some good things and then we do things that show we still have some growing up to do," said Spirou who started a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors. "We couldn't control the paint in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime. Good defense doesn't count until you secure the defensive rebound."

Adelphi's John Calarco, a senior guard, hit the game-winning shot, a fall away corner jumper with 6.3 seconds left on a second possession opportunity.

Adelphi tied the game with 1:08 left on a traditional three-point play, an offensive rebound basket and foul shot. The Panthers point guard's potential game-winning shot with 6 seconds left was nullified. The ball caromed off a rim guy wire before dropping into the cylinder.

Sanders chance for a last-second game winner fell short, sending the game to overtime.

"This group has a lot of passion and heart. They just need a little more maturity. I like these kids' effort," said Spirou.

"We're good character guys. We stick together. No finger pointing. We work together right up to the end. I think we're only going to improve," said Stys.


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