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Men's Basketball: Penmen's struggles continue against Dolphins

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 09. 2018 11:36PM

SNHU's Chris Walters goes for the hoop against Le Moyne's Isaiah Eisendorf at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester on Tuesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — It was a night to forget for the Southern New Hampshire University men’s basketball team in many ways. The most forgetful aspect was the outcome as the Penmen dropped their second straight Northeast-10 Conference game, 58-54 to Le Moyne at the Fieldhouse.

Back-to-back conference losses have been rare in recent seasons for the Penmen (11-4, 7-3 NE-10), but the manner in which they lost on Tuesday added insult to injury. Despite drawing as close as one possession in the final minute, SNHU had its worst offensive showing of the year, scoring well below its 81-point average while turning the ball over 13 times.

“We didn’t come out of the (holiday) break clean,” SNHU coach Stan Spirou said. The Penmen have dropped four of their last six games. “We struggled while we were in Florida and really just haven’t been the team we were to start the season. We need to find it sooner than later because this league is unforgiving.”

Among many issues for the Penmen was a lack of toughness. SNHU was pushed around in the paint much of the night, which showed in Le Moyne’s 38-29 rebounding advantage. An offensive rebound by Daniel Kaigler (team-high 10 points) in the final minute helped Le Moyne trim clock and eventually get free throws to bump the Dolphins’ lead to 54-48 with 25 seconds left. Le Moyne pulled down 11 offensive boards in all while scoring 32 points in the paint.

“They were certainly a lot tougher than us,” Spirou said. “We backed off a little when we had chances at the end of the game to get rebounds or loose balls, but they came up with it. They deserved this, beating us in all phases.”

SNHU actually showed its defensive chops first by holding Le Moyne to eight points over the first 14 minutes of the game before ending the opening half with a 27-20 edge. Spirou said the opening intensity from the defense was notable, but the lack of capitalization off the stingy effort down the other end was his club’s demise. An 18-9 run by the Dolphins to open the second half ended with a Kaigler layup to give Le Moyne the lead for good with 9:28 to play

What might’ve epitomized the offensive struggles most was the 31 combined points among SNHU’s Daquaise Andrews, Chris Walters and Dimitri Floras. Andrews scored 19 of those points while Walters and Floras, who average 23 and 15 points a game, respectively, together went 4-for-19 from the field.

“There’s a reason why they were picked No. 1 in our region coming in,” said Spirou of the Dolphins, who were holding opponents to 61 points a game coming in. “They took Chris and Dimitri out of the game. When you lose two-of-three scorers, it’s going to be hard for us to win a game.”

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