Southern New Hampshire beats SCSU men’s basketball, 107-104
Edgar Ayala – Sports Editor
After Southern’s nine point lead at halftime and extending it to as many as 18, Southern New Hampshire forced an overtime and defeated Southern Connecticut 107-104 in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship quarterfinal round this past Sunday afternoon.
Southern’s head coach, Scott Burrell, said the Penman’s second chance points and outrebounding the Owls in the second half of regulation, caused the Owls to get eliminated from the NE-10 Tournament.
“It was a big upset,” said Coach Burrell. “We had an 18-point lead. We just didn’t do the same things that we did to get that 18-point lead. We were impatient. We turned the ball over. We didn’t play defense, and didn’t rebound.”
Despite the loss, the Owls are still in contention for the NCAA Tournament. As they were ranked No. 3 in the latest NCAA regional rankings.
Moore Field House hosted just under 700 spectators to witness the NE-10 quarterfinal matchup between the Owls and the Penman.
But the Penman pushed the Owls into an extra period, sending the Owls flying back home for the remainder of the tournament.
“It was a disappointment,” said the NE-10 Player of the Year, Desmond Williams. “We’re definitely not satisfied with tonight, but we’ll learn from it. Hopefully we get a bid in the NCAA Tournament and prove to everybody that we’re the best team in this region.”
Williams led all scorers with 36 points and 11 rebounds. Recording his 17th double-double of the season, and in the meantime ended the night netting his 1,000th point for the Owls.
And becoming the 29th player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.
Yet on the other side, NE-10 leading scorer, Michael Mallory, was scoreless the entire first half, as foul trouble caused him to play four minutes in the first period.
“When one of your best players is in foul trouble it’s never part of the game plan,” Williams said. “I had to attack more and tell myself to shoot a lot more on the offensive side of the ball.”
Southern ended the first half being up 43-34.
But it took one minute into the second half for Mallory to finally get on the scoreboard – a three-pointer from the top of the arc.
Mallory erupted in the second half, scoring 16 points in the first five minutes of the second frame. While netting 29 of his 33 total points in the second period of regulation.
He finished the night with 33 points, four assists and a team-high five three-pointers.
The Owls got off to a 13-7 run to start the second half. As NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Austin Carter, picked off a pass and put back a one-handed dunk.
Southern would then lead 56-41, causing the Penman to call timeout.
With five minutes left in the second period, Southern New Hampshire tied the game 84-84. And Rodney Sanders would hit a three-pointer to give the Penman their first lead since the first half.
Sanders ended the night with a team-high 29 points, five assists and game-high seven three-pointers.
After a fastbreak layup by Austin Carter, the Owls were up 94-91 with four seconds left in regulation. But Sanders would hit another three-point shot with a second remaining to tie the game 94-94, and send the game into overtime.
“This is our game and we’re going to win it,” said forward Stefon Williams on Burrell’s talk before overtime commenced.
But the Penman were just too much to handle, as Southern New Hampshire outscored the Owls 13-10 in overtime. Winning the game 107-104.
“You play all year to get the No. 1 seed, you have home court advantage and you don’t do what you’re capable of doing,” said Burrell. “So it was definitely a let down. Now we wait to see what happens in the NCAA Tournament.”
Photo Credit: Edgar Ayala – Sports Editor