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March 18. 2014 10:06PM

St. Anselm men bounced from NCAAs by Southern Connecticut State

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Southern Connecticut State University went on a 14-3 run early in the second half and held on for a 78-72 victory over St. Anselm College in the NCAA Division II East Regional final at Moore Field House on Tuesday night.

The Owls advanced to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals in Evansville, Ind.

SCSU’s Tylon Smith, who was named tournament Most Valuable Player, led the Owls with 29 points, 18 of which came in the final 20 minutes.

The Hawks hit on only seven of 31 shots from 3-point range.

“The way we’re built, we have to make shots,” said St. Anselm coach Keith Dickson. “From behind the line, we’re about 40 percent with John Nielsen, Mike McCahey and Roy Mabrey. That’s what (we) have done successfully, and tonight, we just couldn’t knock them down.

“It’s going to be hard to beat a team like that when we are seven of 31,” said Dickson. “The only reason we were in the game is that they (the Owls) shot the ball so poorly.”

Roy Mabrey and Chris Santo led the St. Anselm with 16 points each in the loss that concluded the Hawks’ campaign at 22-8. Dominic Borelli finished with 12 points in 19 minutes of playing time.

The top-seeded Owls struggled at the outset, as indicated by a 28.9 shooting success from the floor through the first half. The Hawks had a jagged beginning, as well, hitting on just 11 of 38 shots.

St. Anselm’s early lead was aided by eight turnovers by the hosts.

The Hawks came into the contest with a 24-11 record all-time against the Owls.

The Hawks’ McCahey provided his team with a seven-point advantage heading into the break when he drilled a short jumper.

The Hawks watched their lead dissolve in the second half as the Owls dominated the glass.

With 10:35 to go in regulation, Mike Mallory’s fast break layup evened the contest at 48. Jose Cruz’s lay-up with 2:47 to go capped the deal for the home club.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed in not coming out on top,” said Dickson. “This is not an easy game to get to. I thought that SC was extremely vulnerable tonight. I don’t think they played anywhere near their best game.”

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