Saint Anselm Men’s Basketball rallied from a double-digit first half deficit to beat the Rams of Thomas Jefferson University 79-75 this past Saturday in Philadelphia.
The game marked the first challenging competition the Hawks have faced this season as they won their first their games by a combined 80 points. Although the game remained close for the majority of the first half, the Rams opened up a comfortable 15 point lead, before the Hawks scored a few more to come within 11 at the break. Both teams made it clear that they would rely on their leading scorers to carry their respective scoring loads. Senior guard Tim Guers shot 4-10 from the field and finished the first half with 11 points, while Junior guard Kylan Guerra shot an accurate 6-8 from the field, including 3-5 from three point range, to bring his first half total to 17 points.
The Hawks clawed their way back into the game, coming close to evening the score on several occasions in the second half, before tying the game at 52 on a three pointer by Senior guard Cody Ball with just under 13 minutes to play in the game. The teams continued to trade leads for the remainder of the second half before Guerra sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 67 with just 16 seconds left.
In overtime, the teams again battled back and forth, trading buckets and changing leads, until Freshman Deondre Bourne’s three point attempt missed, allowing the Hawks to secure the rebound, and Ball to ice the game with a free throw to give the Hawks a two-possession advantage. The final score ended with the Hawks triumphant 79-75 over the Rams.
In a contest where both squads were equally efficient from the field and almost exactly the same on the rebounding comparison, the difference in the game came down to ball security. The Hawks turned the ball over 9 times compared to 14 for the Rams. The Hawks took advantage of the Rams’ miscues and were able to cash in with 17 points off turnovers while the Rams only managed 6. Stamina could have been another deciding factor as the Hawks used their bench effectively, receiving quality minutes from Sophomore Spencer Cline and three others, while the Rams barely used their bench, only playing a total of seven player over the entirety of the game.
Guers returned to his old scoring habits, netting a season-high in points with 30 (12-24 FG) (1-4 3PFG) (5-6 FT), and rebounds with 13. Ball chipped in with 17 for the Hawks. Guerra led the Rams with 24 while Junior Prince Hickson added 20 in a losing effort for Thomas Jefferson University. The Hawks will host their home opener November 20th against the Skyhawks of Stonehill, as the number 4 ranked team in the country looks to add to their 3-0 start this season. The Rams drop to 2-1.