UNH basketball powers past Saint Anslem, 85-58, advances to NE-10 final

Photo: NewHavenChargers.com

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The University of New Haven men’s basketball team used its best offensive performance of the season to knock off host Saint Anselm, 85-58, in a Northeast-10 Championship Semifinal on Wednesday evening in Manchester, N.H. The Chargers advance to meet crosstown rival Southern Connecticut State on Saturday, March 8 at 1 p.m. at the Owls’ Moore Field House. Both teams will be vying for their first-ever NE-10 Championship.

With the win, New Haven improves to 21-7 on the season. The Chargers are the No. 2 seed in the NE-10 Southwest Division. Saint Anselm, which is the NE-10 Northeast Division’s top-seeded club, drops to 20-7.

The Blue and Gold scored a season-high 85 points and also set a season-best mark in field goal percentage at 31-for-56 (55.4 percent) in the contest. On the defensive end, the Chargers held a Saint Anselm team averaging 87.3 points per game to a season-low 58 points.

Jeffery Adkins led the New Haven offense with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Eric Anderson added 21 points and 11 rebounds to complete his 19th double-double of the season, and Justin Exum also netted 21 points sparked by three three-pointers. As a unit, the Chargers shot 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) from beyond the arc and added a 15-for-18 (83.3 percent) showing at the free throw line.

Rounding out the offense from the starters were Cyrus James (Manchester, Conn./Howell Cheney Tech) with seven points to go along with eight rebounds and three blocked shots and Ashanti DePass (Baldwin, N.Y./Baldwin) with three points.

Off the bench, Jemal Mosley added five points, Samir McDaniels scored three and Jonny Ocasio netted two.

Anderson also blocked four shots to surpass Herb Watkins as New Haven’s all-time leader in blocks. The two-time Northeast-10 Defensive Player of the Year has turned away 193 shots in his Chargers’ career.

Led by Anderson’s 11 rebounds, New Haven earned a decisive 39-19 advantage on the glass including 10 offensive boards that led to 12 second-chance points. The Chargers committed eight turnovers and forced five.

Chris Santo led Saint Anselm with 13 points. The Hawks were limited to 20-for-53 (37.7 percent) shooting from the floor, 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) from beyond the arc and 13-for-19 (68.4 percent) at the stripe.

The Chargers broke open an early 16-13 edge with seven consecutive points, capped by an Exum three to claim a 23-13 edge with 8:31 to go in the first half. Back-to-back triples from Adkins and McDaniels soon increased the advantage to 30-15, and another Exum trey grew the lead further at 35-17. The offensive barrage concluded at the horn, as Mosley knocked down a 32-footer to send New Haven into the locker room with a 46-27 lead.

The Blue and Gold shot 18-for-30 (60 percent) from the field in the opening period with a 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) performance from three-point territory.

The margin grew to 30 points on an Adkins layup at the 14:10 mark of the second frame, as the Chargers continued to score to put the game away. An Ocasio layup in the final minute put the finishing touches on an 85-58 triumph.

Also the No. 3-ranked team in the NCAA East Region, the Chargers will travel to Southern Connecticut State on Saturday, March 8 for the team’s first appearance in the NE-10 Championship Game in six seasons as a member of the conference. Tip-off from Moore Field house is set for 1 p.m. The Owls are the top-ranked team in the region and slot at No. 6 nationally.

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