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March 11. 2013 9:07PM

NCAA Div. II Men's Basketball Tournament: Afternoon tilts on tap for SNHU, Saint Anselm

Division II's big dance is coming to Southern New Hampshire University and the NCAA party wouldn't be complete without St. Anselm College and Franklin Pierce University.

All three men's basketball teams earned a spot in the NCAA East Regional, hosted by Northeast-10 Conference league champion St. Anselm College.

The Hawks (23-5), making their 17th NCAA Tournament appearance, earned the No. 2 seed in the East and will take on No. 7 Bridgeport University (21-9) in a quarterfinal matchup on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the SNHU Fieldhouse. First-round action begins Saturday with No. 6 seed and NE-10 tournament champion SNHU (19-10) taking on No. 3 Assumption College (20-7) at noon. Franklin Pierce (21-8) earned the No. 1 seed in the region and host No. 8 Bloomfield College (17-12) at 6 p.m. University of New Haven and Dominican (N.Y.) College meet in the 8:30 nightcap. Semifinals will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The East Region championship game is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Hawks and Penmen have a long history of NCAA tournament games at SNHU, but it's been a while.

An NCAA Division II men's basketball regional was held at the SNHU Fieldhouse eight times from 1981-97, including five times in the 1990s. SNHU, formerly New Hampshire College, has won a regional title on its home court four times: 1981, 1987, 1993, and 1995. The '93 and '95 titles were part of a three-year run of Elite Eight appearances by the Penmen, who won the 1994 Northeast Regional in Philadelphia.

It's been 16 years since a Division II regional was held in Manchester.

"To have all three (New Hampshire) teams in the region, that makes it a little more special for local fans and college basketball fans in the state," St. Anselm coach Keith Dickson said. "We're just happy to be in the field, and we're excited to be playing in Manchester. It's a long, hard year. You just thank your lucky stars if you're healthy and still playing. A lot of teams wish they were in this position right now."

Ticket prices are $10 per day for adults and $5 for youth (ages 5-17), students and senior citizens. All-session passes are available for $20 for adults and $10.00 and youth/students/seniors. All-session passes will be available on-line today at http://tickets.anselm.edu/default.asp.

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