Men's Basketball: SNHU outlasts HawksBy JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
November 29. 2017 11:29PM
GOFFSTOWN — Remaining unbeaten in the Northeast-10 Conference came down to a final possession on Wednesday night between the men’s basketball teams from Southern New Hampshire University and St. Anselm College.
That final possession played to the favor of the Penmen, who once again came through with a timely defensive stand to down the Hawks 86-85 at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium. Chris Walters hit one of two free throws with 18 seconds to play that got the Penmen (7-0, 4-0 NE-10) their final lead before the defense held the Hawks (5-2, 3-1 NE-10) without a shot during their final possession.
“We really collapsed on Tim Guers there (during St. Anselm’s last possession)and the clock just ran out on them.” SNHU coach Stan Spirou said. “I have to give our guys a lot of credit. They were down 11 or 12 at one time and it’s easy (at Stoutenburgh) to pack it in and wait for next time. We hung in there though. One basket at a time and one stop at a time.”
SNHU’s deficit was as many as 11 points with 7:17 to play in the second half. It took less than four minutes for that double-digit hole to evaporate and turn into a Penmen lead at 80-77. The heralded Penmen trio of Walters, Dimitri Floras and Daquaise Andrews all contributed during the turnaround. Floras, of Merrimack, scored six of SNHU’s points during that 17-3 spurt.
“The story was what they did on offense,” said Hawks coach Keith Dickson, citing SNHU’s 7-for-11 shooting from 3-point range in the second half as a red flag for his club. “When we got up 11 (the first time), Walters immediately hit a big shot and then they really just continued. They went on to put more pressure on our offensive possessions, where we had more trouble getting by them.
“They wanted to win, too, and they have three really, really good players. It was the kind of game that was going to go down to the wire and go either way.”
Walters finished with a team-high 26 points while Floras and Andrews finished with 21 and 15. St. Anse’m’s Tim Guers was a thorn in SNHU’s side, scoring 32 points, and Londonderry’s Cody Ball followed with 20 of his own.
Spirou felt his club was spurred by good minutes from the bench, which the Penmen had been lacking previously. Ryogo Simuno and Remo Simankevicius each provided a lift for SNHU, but Sumino really anted up with 11 points, including five in the second half.
“We’ve been looking for that fifth, sixth or seventh individual to step up and take help our three veterans,” Spirou said. “Ryogo came in with points and timely shots, but he gave us his best effort defensively, too.
“He’s still new to the program after getting here second semester of last year. If he can continue to develop and add to what we have, all the better for us.”
St. Anselm held a lead for 21 minutes of the ballgame compared to St. Anselm’s 14 minutes ahead. However, even with the double-digit lead in the second half, Dickson knew his team was not safe against the Penmen. Among the factors with Dickson’s uneasiness was the Hawks’ 20 turnovers, which was well above their average of 11 a game coming into Wednesday. Dickson is dealing with a relatively untested crew.
“We’ve got a lot of different people on the court and we’re in a spot where we are still just finding stuff out,” Dickson said. “A lead is just a lead right now. There is plenty of game to play there, so I wouldn’t say I was comfortable at all. You get up and down, and then you see what you’re made of. It was a good game on both ends, but they won.”