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NCAA Div. II East Regional: Ravens salvage NH pride, reach semis

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 16. 2013 8:44PM
SNHU head coach Stan Spirou gives his team instructions during the second half of the Penmen's 73-65 loss to Assumption during the NCAA Division II Regional men's basketball tournanent at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday in Manchester. St. Anselm, the other Greater Manchester entry, fell 77-66 to Bridgeport. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER - So much for home cooking.

Southern New Hampshire University failed to take advantage of it. So, too, did St. Anselm College.

Both promptly got drummed out of the NCAA Division II East Regional basketball tournament at the Southern New Hampshire Fieldhouse as a result.

No. 3 seed Assumption opened the day with a with a 73-65 win over Southern New Hampshire and No. 7 Bridgeport followed up by eliminating No. 2 St. Anselm, 77-66.

Assumption takes on Bridgeport in one semifinal today at 5.

"It was a very, very poor and disappointing performance by us," said St. Anselm coach Keith Dickson. "I know we've been off 10 days, but I thought we'd shake the rust off a little better than we did. It was a tough day to throw a stinker."

St. Anselm is the host team for the Regional and Southern New Hampshire got to play in its own gym.

Those factors didn't help either team.

Both young teams - St. Anselm played one senior and SNHU none - had similar issues. Each shot field goals poorly and each had a dry spell in the first half that let their opponent take charge of the game.

St. Anselm finished 23-6 for the season and Southern New Hampshire had its winning streak snapped at six and wrapped things up at 19-11.

The Hawks wasted an impressive performance by sophomore Chris Santo, a transfer from the University of Vermont who scored a career-high 32 points and added 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

Santo was limited to 27 minutes by foul trouble.

He left the game with two fouls with 9:30 left in the first half and Bridgeport went on a 12-0 run that forced Dickson to bring Santo back in.

The Hawks never quite caught up again.

They got it to 46-43 with 13:37 left in the game on an old-fashioned three-point play by Santo.

A basket inside and a couple of treys quickly put Bridgeport up 54-43.

The lead stated at five points or more the rest of the way.

Assumption 73, SNHU 65: The Penmen did not shoot well and had trouble handling Assumption's big bodies up front.

"You can't shoot 31 percent for twos and 15 percent for threes and expect to win any basketball game, especially at this stage of the season," said Southern New Hampshire coach Stan Spirou. "And then you give up 37 free throws on top of that. . . . We had no answers for them inside and in the paint other than to foul."

Assumption's Tim Beinert, a 6-foot-6 and 255-pound senior, had 18 points and made all six of his field goals. Sophomore Terrance Bobb-Jones, a 6-foot-3 leaper, had 17 rebounds and 12 rebounds.

"Their big guys were tough underneath," said SNHU guard Mike Stys, a junior out of Hooksett. "They made the right plays the whole game."

Junior guard C.J. Marriro led the Penmen with a career-high 22 points. Sophomore Aleksander Dobrovic had 17 and Stys added 15.

SNHU made only two of its 13 treys and was outrebounded 40-31.

The Penmen made 27 of their 32 free throws and Assumption hit 24 of 37.

Assumption went on a 17-2 run over an eight-minute stretch to turn a 15-11 deficit into a 28-17 lead with 4:55 left in the first half.

"We couldn't make a layup," Spirou said.

The only two Penmen points in that span came on a couple of Dobrovic foul shots.

The Greyhounds protected their lead the rest of the way.

SNHU threatened at various points in the second half, but could not get closer than four points.

A pair of Marriro foul shots cut it to 64-60 with 3:11 left to play in the game. But Bobb-Jones retaliated with yet another move inside and a basket and it was quickly back to a six-point lead and the Penmen were running out of time.

"They hung in there and almost stole one at the end," Spirou said.

"They wanted it more towards the end and we fell short a little bit," Dobrovic said.

"We knew they would make a major push," said Assumption coach Matt Mahar. "They cut it to four and we held our composure. It certainly wasn't a comfortable lead by any stretch."

The loss ended a season that a young Penmen team had managed to extend with the six-game winning streak and a Northest-10 tournament title.

"Three weeks ago we were going the other way," Spirou said. "We were 13-10. Kids like C.J. and these guys (Stys and Dobrovic) turned the season around."

Spirou did not play a senior on Saturday and started two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.

Dickson started one senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman.

Franklin Pierce 90, Bloomfield 78: No. 1 seed Franklin Pierce advanced to the semifinals.

The Ravens improved to 22-8 and got some revenge with a 90-78 quarterfinal win over Bloomfield on Saturday night and will look for a little more tonight in a semifinal at 7:30.

They take on the winner New Haven, a 73-66 winner over Dominican in Saturday's late game. The Ravens lost to the Chargers in the regular season.

The revenge on Bloomfield stemmed from last year. Bloomfield ousted the Ravens from the NCAAs in the second round.

"We used it as motivation," said Eric Jean-Guillaume. "We have stuff to prove."

Jean-Guillaume was one of four Ravens in double figures with 20 points. Ellis Cooper added 21, Ryen Vilmont had 17 and Adrianos Vourliotakis-Perdikaris had 16.

The Ravens had 20 assists and 10 turnovers and shot 55 percent from the floor for the game.

"Protecting the ball is a focus of ours and when we're playing our best, we're sharing the ball real well," said Franklin Pierce coach David Chadbourne.

Curtis Christian had six assists and no turnovers.