St. Anselm drops New Haven
Riding an 11-game winning streak, the Chargers (12-6, 9-5 NE-10) had little chance extending its longest winning streak in 21 seasons.
The host Hawks, tied with Assumption atop the conference standings with an 11-3 record (15-3 overall), employed several intuitive defensive stands and displayed motion-filled offensive attack to secure its 10th victory in 11 games. They are off to their best start in recent memory.
"You've got an impressive club," New Haven coach Ted Hotaling told St. Anselm mentor Keith Dickson during the postgame handshake exchange.
The Hawks dominated every facet of the game, improving to 7-1 at home. They shot 53.8 percent from the field, won the rebounding battle against a taller team, 37-26, forced nine turnovers and made six steals.
The Hawks might sport the highest-scoring offense in the conference (averaging 83 points an outing), but stingy, sneaker-squeaking defense propelled the club to a 37-19 intermission lead Tuesday night.
Defenders switched effectively off screens and contested every shot, causing the Chargers to shoot 21.4 percent from the field. Defenders owned the boards, collecting 17 at the defensive end.
"Everyone has wanted to talk about our offense this season, but in this game the defense told the story," said Dickson. "I think this was one of the most complete 40 minutes of basketball we've played to date."
Meanwhile, the offense, which swished the second-most treys (18) in school history during its last game, hit short range shots against New Haven. Players drove the lanes to bank home several creative layup drives.
Sophomores Roy Mabrey (21 points) and Chris Santo (16 points) led St. Anslem's scoring attack.
Santo tallied points on a nifty reverse, a lefty scoop and a twisting baseline move. Mabrey muscled his way to the hoop on two drives and drained a long trey.
The Hawks ripped off 7-0 and 11-2 runs in the first half.
"We did a terrific job opening their defense up and getting a lot of dribble drive opportunities," said Dickson.
The lead quickly inflated to 20 once the second half commenced. New Haven pulled only as close as 13 points, twice, with 11:15 and 6:22 remaining in the game.