Nineteen schools sent teams to both the NCAA Division II men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this season, and two reached the Elite Eight in both sports: Nova Southeastern and Saint Anselm College.
The Nova Southeastern and Saint Anselm men will face each other in Wednesday’s quarterfinals at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind., (noon). Nova Southeastern (29-3) is the No. 4 seed, and Saint Anselm (25-5) is seeded No. 5.
Nova Southeastern, which has its main campus in Davie, Fla., is in the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time. The Sharks were the No. 1 seed in the South Region and are averaging 98.2 points per game. Senior point guard David Dennis collected 58 points, 13 rebounds and 18 assists in the South Region, including 28 points in an 89-74 triumph over Lynn in the championship game. He’s averaging 15.8 points per game.
The Sharks are shooting 41 percent from 3-point range. Junior guard/forward Connor Zinaich is the team’s best long-range shooter. He’s averaging 19.7 points per contest and has connected on 51.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Mark Matthews, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, may be Nova Southeastern’s top offensive threat, however. He’s certainly the team’s most interesting story. Matthews is a Division I transfer who is averaging a team-high 20.3 points per game. Nova Southeastern is his fourth school. His previous stops were UNC-Wilmington, South Carolina-Aiken and Florida Gulf Coast.
This is the second trip to the Elite Eight for the Saint Anselm men. The program also advanced this far in 2000.
The Saint Anselm women will play their quarterfinal-round game Tuesday (2:30 p.m.) at Alumni Hall in Columbus, Ohio. The Hawks are the No. 7 seed and are unlikely to cross paths with Nova Southeastern, since the Sharks are the No. 8 seed.
Saint Anselm (22-9) will have to upset No. 2 Southwestern Oklahoma State (33-1) in the quarterfinals to extend its season. The Bulldogs will enter Tuesday’s game with a 33-game winning streak, which is the second-longest active streak in Division II behind top-seeded Drury (34-0).
Southwestern Oklahoma State has a formidable one-two scoring punch in Hailey Tucker and Hayden Priddy, who are first and second, respectively, on the Great American Conference’s career scoring list. Tucker is averaging 18.6 points per game, and Priddy is close behind at 17.4.
The Bulldogs rank fourth among NCAA Division II teams in scoring at 84.7 points per game, which is the highest scoring average among the eight remaining teams, but finished ninth in the GAC in scoring defense (67.6 ppg). Junior forward Shannon Ryan leads Saint Anselm in scoring (18.5 ppg) and rebounding (12.0 ppg).
Tuesday’s matchup will be the first meeting between the programs, which are both making their first Elite Eight appearance.
The Joe Yukica New Hampshire Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame has selected its high school scholar/athletes for 2019. The following players will be honored Tuesday, May 7 at the Executive Court Banquet Facility in Manchester:
Josh Berube (Londonderry), Owen Brickley (Plymouth), Luke Botticelli (Sanborn), Bobby Bunis (Merrimack), Zachary Chau (Londonderry), Jacob Collins (Bedford), Tommy Emrick (Windham), Willem Federico (Dover), Tim Galamaga (Bedford), Adam Gray (Exeter), Patrick Hagearty (Londonderry), Alex Hawkom (Central), Thomas Hayes (Merrimack), Adrian Kennedy (Concord), Jordan Labossiere (Salem), Harrison LeGoullon (Bedford), Michael Loveless (Nashua North), Madison Lucontoni (Bedford), Patrick Malm (Plymouth), Cameron Mann (Kingswood), Gennaro Marra (Pinkerton), Ryan Marotta (Windham), Chandler Matson (Monadnock), Jaymeson Mayheux (Manchester West), Will Michaud (Salem), Brian Montminy (Nashua North), Thomas Morgan (Bedford), Lucien Mumpini (Bedford), Nick Olibrice (Central), Austin Ouellette (Nashua North), Bobby Putnam (Hanover), Simon Roach (Hanover), Cody Stevens (Windham), Ryan Toscano (Bedford), Andrew Twite (Bedford), Ty Vitko (Dover), Ryan Whitney (Exeter) and Elias Witham (Winnacunnet).
All athletes were nominated by their head coach. Tickets to the event can be purchased at www.joeyukicafootballfoundation.org.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are scheduled to open their season Thursday, April 4 with the first game of a seven-game homestand that includes four games against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets) and three against the Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies). The only day game in that seven-game stretch is the Sunday, April 7 contest against Binghamton (1:35 p.m.).
Notre Dame and Harvard, both of which are in the NCAA Division I Hockey Northeast Regional in Manchester this coming weekend, have ties to New Hampshire. Brothers Matt Steeves and Alex Steeves are Bedford residents who are forwards at Notre Dame. The Harvard roster includes Andover resident Reilly Walsh, a sophomore defenseman who played at Proctor Academy; and sophomore forward Benjamin Solin, who played at Phillips Exeter Academy. Harvard assistant coach Jim Tortorella is a Stratham resident who was Saint Anselm’s head coach last season.
The tournament’s Northeast Regional will be played at SNHU Arena on Friday and Saturday.
The University of New Hampshire football team’s spring game will be played Saturday, May 4 at noon. There is no charge to attend.