MANCHESTER, N.H. – Down by a game-high seven points late in the first half, the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team righted the ship in the game's final 20 minutes to claim a 79-71 win over the College of Saint Rose on Tuesday.
Saint Anselm boosts its overall record to 15-4, having won 10 of its last 11 games after notching the team's 11th Northeast-10 Conference win in 14 tries. Saint Rose lost only its second league fixture of the season, dropping to 15-5 and to 10-2 against the league.
For the second-straight game, freshman Chris Paul set a career-high mark in points scoring with 26 to his credit. He narrowly missed a double-double, leading the Hawks with nine rebounds and made all eight of his free throws on the evening. Junior Tim Guers potted 22 points and pulled down eight boards, tying with Kyle Green in the latter statistic.
Senior Taylor Fortin handed out six assists and struck for 19 points. Junior Cody Ball picked up eight points and seven rebounds. Saint Anselm shot exactly 50% for the game, making 28 of the team's 56 field goals and poured home eight three-point baskets in the affair.
In a first half that saw seven different lead changes, Paul's made layup with 11:29 left in the first to put the Hawks ahead, 24-16. Following a time out, the Golden Knights charged ahead with 14-straight points to stun Saint Anselm, 30-24, with just under seven minutes remaining in the opener.
Retaking the lead with 4:32 left, Saint Rose closed the first half on a 12-6 run to bring a five-point advantage to the locker room at halftime. The Golden Knights shot 53.1% from the floor (17-for-32) and victimized the Hawks' seven total turnovers, committing only two themselves. Saint Anselm, however, enjoyed an 18-to-13 edge in total rebounding to stay in the game.
Down by a 60-54 score with 11:47 to go, a Fortin three-point basket on the very next offensive play started Saint Anselm down the winning path. His clutch shot started a 10-point stretch of Hawks scoring, giving the hosts a lead they would not relinquish. Saint Rose would cut the Saint Anselm lead to five points as late as with 1:51 left in regulation time but three made free throws by the Hawks put the game out of reach.
A stout Hawks defense limited Saint Rose to only 27% shooting in the final 20 minutes (10-for-37). Mical-Ryan Boyd paced the Golden Knights with 19 points. Julian Lipinski notched his 1,000th career point for Saint Rose with his fourth of nine points on the day. Matt Cerutti hauled in a team-best nine rebounds.
Saint Anselm welcomes NYIT to the Stoutenburgh Gymnasium this Thursday, Jan. 25 for a 6 p.m. non-conference showdown.