When and Where: December 12, 2015 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 59, Stonehill College 57
Records: SNHU 6-4 (3-3 Northeast-10), Stonehill 8-2 (4-2 Northeast-10)
Junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) matched his career high with a game-best 24 points to power the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team to a 59-57 victory against Stonehill College on Saturday afternoon at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Walters made nine of the 14 shots he attempted from the floor, including both of his 3-pointers, and was 4 of 9 from the stripe, while tallying eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Senior Rodney Sanders (Elizabeth, N.J.) added 15 points (7-15 FG, 1-4 3-FG), four rebounds and three steals.
Ryan Logan paced Stonehill with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Carter Smith and Pierce Cumpstone each added 11.
With the Penmen in front by one, eight points from Walters carried a 10-3 run that stretched the Southern New Hampshire lead to 15-7 just over four minutes into the contest. SNHU opened its largest lead of the game at 25-14 midway through the opening half when eight straight Stonehill points, including the final four from Isaiah Bess, pulled the Skyhawks within 25-22 at the 5:59 mark.
Layups from Sanders and Walters helped build the lead back up to seven, but Stonehill scored the final five points of the stanza to head into the locker room trailing, 29-27.
Stonehill opened up the second half with seven straight points – capped by a Smith trey – to grab what would be its biggest lead of the contest at 34-29 just over two minutes in. Southern New Hampshire responded with a 9-0 counter-run – bookended by a layup and two free throws from senior BJ Cardarelli (Manchester, Conn.) – to regain the lead at 40-36 just over three minutes later.
A pair of 3-pointers from Logan jumped Stonehill back in front before a Walters bucket in the paint knotted the game at 42-all at the 12:19 mark. The teams then traded baskets twice before a Cumpstone put-back gave the visitors a 48-46 edge with 9:43 to play. Walters cut the deficit in half with a free throw and then gave Southern New Hampshire the lead for good at 49-48 with a layup at 7:51.
Following a layup from junior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) that made it a three-point game, Stonehill would twice cut it to a single point before four straight points gave SNHU some breathing room and a 58-53 advantage with 3:22 remaining.
After a pair of freebies from Logan trimmed the Stonehill deficit to two, the Penmen ran nearly a minute off the clock when junior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) collected an offensive rebound, but another miss would give the Skyhawks the ball back with 18 seconds left and a chance to at least pull even.
Out of a timeout, Cardarelli was able to steal the ball near the sideline and throw it high and across the court to try and kill the final four seconds, but the ball went out of play off a scrum as the horn sounded and the officials ruled it Stonehill ball and put 1.2 seconds back on the clock. Logan tried to throw the inbounds pass the length of the court, but Gilligan was able to intercept it and seal the win.
In his first game back after missing seven of the last eight contests, including six straight, Cardarelli shook the rust off with nine points (3-8 FG, 3-4 FT), five rebounds and three steals. Gilligan finished with eight points (4-7 FG) and three boards.
-Stonehill entered the contest averaging 83.7 points per game before the Penmen defense held it to a season-low 57.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Stonehill, 48 percent (24-50) to 42.3 percent (22-52), while the Skyhawks returned the favor from distance, 35 percent (7-20) to 23.5 percent (4-17).
-SNHU made more free throws than Stonehill, but shot just 43.8 percent (7-16) at the stripe, while the Skyhawks hit at an 85.7 percent (6-7) clip.
-Rebounding was even at 31-all, while SNHU held a 34-28 advantage in the paint and parlayed 19 Stonehill turnovers into a 15-7 margin in points off mistakes.
-Walters had his five-game double-digit rebounding streak snapped.
The Penmen are back in action Sunday, Dec. 20 (1 p.m.) when they play host to Lincoln (Pa.) University at the Fieldhouse on Holiday Food and Toy Drive Day to benefit the New Horizons Food Pantry and Toys for Tots. Anyone that brings a non-perishable food item or an unwrapped toy to donate will receive free admission to the game. Tickets can be purchased HERE or at the box office on the day of the game.
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