ALBANY, N.Y. – Freshman Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) (pictured) led five Southern New Hampshire University players in double figures with a career-high 24 points as the Penmen outlasted The College of Saint Rose 110-107 in overtime in Northeast-10 men's basketball Saturday afternoon at Nolan Gymnasium. The Penmen won their fourth in a row to improve to 9-6 and 7-5 in the NE-10, while the Golden Knights, who suffered their first loss at home this season (6-1) are now 9-8 and 6-5 in the league.
With the win, SNHU head coach Stan Spirou earned career win No. 550, and is now 550-296 in his 29-year career. The 110 points marks the first time the Penmen have cracked the century mark since a 104-58 win over Rivier College on December 18, 2005, and their most in a game since a 118-69 win over Bridgeport on February 5, 2000.
Walters, playing in just his fourth game of his rookie campaign after missing the first 11, went 2-4 behind the arc and converted 16-of-17 at the free throw line, two shy of the program record for free throws made in a game. He also had five rebounds and four assists. Junior Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del.) knocked down five of his six three-point attempts and totaled 21 points, but played just 20 minutes as he was saddled with foul trouble before fouling out with 3:21 left. Mike Stys (Hooksett, N.H.) was 8-12 from the floor, including 3-6 behind the arc, and recorded 20 points and five assists. CJ Marriro (Boston, Mass.) had 19 points, five rebounds and four assists before fouling out in overtime, while Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J.) added 16 points on 6-9 shooting.
Tyler Sayre was one of three players to finish with double-doubles for Saint Rose, as he had a game-high 37 points to go along with 10 rebounds, shooting 13-21 from the floor and 11-11 at the free throw line. Dominykas Milka totaled 27 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while Chris Dorgler finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
In a game that saw 19 lead changes and 17 ties, including three ties in the extra session, and neither team leading by more than seven, SNHU took a 98-97 lead on a pair of Walters free throws with 3:45 left. Milka tied the game 98-98 when he made 1-of-2 at the line with 2:52 left, but Marriro put the Penmen back on top with a jumper on the next SNHU possession. Milka tied the game with 2:11 left, before Sanders' conventional three-point play with 1:47 left put the guests on top for good, 103-100.
Clinging to a 103-102 lead, Walters knocked down a three from the right corner with 55 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. After Sayre missed a three at the other end and Sanders came down with the rebound, SNHU made all four of its free throws the rest of the way to grab the victory.
The second half saw eight lead changes in the final five minutes. A Sanders three with 1:15 to go put the Penmen on top 91-90, before Sayre converted a pair at the line with a minute left to put the Golden Knights back on top 92-91. Stys put SNHU back on top with a floater in traffic with 49 seconds to go, but on the next Saint Rose trip, Marriro came up with a steal. He would be fouled and made 1-of-2 at the line to make it 94-92 with 35.7 seconds to go.
Following a timeout, Sayre knocked down a 15-footer with 21.7 seconds left to tie the game 94-94. The Penmen did not call timeout, and an off-balance look at a game-winning three by Sanders as time expired was off the mark.
After a 46-46 tie at halftime, Saint Rose built a 56-50 lead just over three minutes into the second half. SNHU used a 13-2 run capped by a Sanders basket to take a 63-58 lead with 13:52 to go. The Penmen led for much of the next several minutes, opening up a pair of six-point cushions, the latest on a Sanders basket with just over seven minutes left that made it 79-73.
In the first half, Saint Rose opened up its largest lead, 12-6, three minutes into the game on a Dan Mundweiler three. The Penmen took their first lead, 24-22, on a Stys three just past the midway point of the period. SNHU opened up a 40-34 lead with just under four minutes to go, but the hosts outscored Southern New Hampshire 12-6 the rest of the half to tie the game 46-46 at the break.
Southern New Hampshire shot 53.8% overall and behind the arc, connecting on 14 of its 26 three-point attempts. Saint Rose, which shot 49.3% but made just 4-of-19 behind the arc, took seven more trips to the free throw line, going 31-38, while the guests were 26-31. The Golden Knights held a commanding 46-27 rebounding advantage, including 19-6 on the offensive glass.
SNHU returns to action Wednesday night when it travels to Adelphi University for a 7:30 Northeast-10 contest. The next Penmen home game is slated for Saturday, January 25, when SNHU welcomes Le Moyne College for a 3:30 tipoff at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
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