Blowout: Tim Guers leads Saint Anselm men in regular-season finale.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. — Saint Anselm tuned up for the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament by hitting all the high notes Tuesday night.
Tim Guers scored 24 points as the No. 20 Hawks routed Stonehill College, 87-63, in the final regular-season conference game for both teams. The Hawks closed it out by winning their last five games and seven of their last eight — and sweeping the season series between the teams.
The conference tournament begins on Friday but because the Hawks (22-4 overall, 18-3 in the league) draw a first-round bye they won’t play their first game until Sunday. Their opponent and the start time will be determined after the first-round games.
Danny Evans and Chris Paul each chipped in with 17 for the Hawks, whose 18 conference victories tied a school record.
Owen Chose paced Stonehill (14-14, 8-13) with 23 points.
“I was just proud of how we took the court,” Hawks coach Keith Dickson said. “We were very businesslike. We never lost our focus from the beginning of the game until the end. We played a game that grown-up teams play.
“I think we’re in great shape going into the Northeast-10 Tournament. It’s another season but our mindset is good. Our attitude is good. We’re confident and we’re playing well. I think any coach would like to say that about their team heading into a tournament.”
The teams battled through five lead changes and two ties during the first six minutes. But then the Hawks went on the first of two significant runs.
Stonehill led 14-13 when the Hawks went on a 10-0 run that was sparked by 3-point baskets from Paul and Miles Tention (that was his first shot after just entering the game) which produced a 23-14 lead with 10:44 left.
The Skyhawks sliced their deficit to five points (23-18) due in part to baskets by Josh Mack and Will Moreton. But then Saint Anselm broke the game open by hitting the Skyhawks with a 12-4 run that gave the Hawks a 35-22 lead.
During this run, Alonzo Jackson converted a three-point play while Guers scored five points (including one trey) and fed Evans for another basket.
“It’s sort of the way we play,” Dickson said of that run. “We’re very consistent on defense. Teams don’t go on long runs against us.
“We usually pull ahead when we have four or five possessions of we stop them and then we get conversions and hurt you there. I think if you talk to any other coach in the league it’s like we can get ahead quickly. We sort of did at the end of the first half”
The floodgates burst wide open in the final four minutes with Londonderry’s Cody Ball (nine points) nailing a pair of 3-point shots and Evans scoring four points, giving Saint Anselm a 47-27 lead.
“We weren’t sure Cody was going to play because he came off an ankle sprain (from) the other day,” Dickson said. “I thought he gave us good minutes (28). That actually was a pleasant surprise.”
The first half stats told the story in that the Hawks shot 58.1 percent from the floor while their man-to-man defense held Stonehill to 37.9 percent shooting. In addition, Saint Anselm outrebounded Stonehill, 21-12, which enabled the Hawks to score eight second-chance points.
When the final stats were tabulated, the Hawks shot 51.7 percent and outrebounded the Skyhawks 37-27 with Guers pulling down eight boards.
“We were in control the whole half,” Dickson said. “They made a little run but we’re experienced enough. Like I said I’m happy with the way we played.”
DOUBLE DRIBBLES: In addition to winning the Northeast Division championship, the Hawks finished with the best record in the entire conference … Entering Tuesday’s night’s games LeMoyne, New Haven and Adelphi were locked in a three-way tie for first place in the Southwest Division with 13-6 records.