Men’s basketball loses NE-10 final in rematch vs. Saint Anselm


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Tori Gonzalez.

Quashawn Lane shoots a freethrow, West Haven, March 4, 2023.

New Haven men’s basketball’s quest for their first conference championship in school history will continue another year after their 65-54 loss to Saint Anselm in the NE-10 championship game.
Conference final, rematch

In a championship game, teams are faced with the biggest test of the season to earn the title of number one in the conference. One game decides the outlook of your season, as teams rise to the occasion and others fail to meet expectations.

Coming away with a win against a conference opponent is no easy task, especially in a rivalry game where familiarity is high and both sides know what to expect from their opponent. In a rematch of a championship game and after two matchups in the regular season, teams are even more familiar with each other and their game plan.

A rematch of the 2019-20 season’s Northeast-10 (NE-10) final went the way of Saint Anselm College again, with a 65-54 win over the University of New Haven. Saint Anselm earned their third NE-10 title in the last five seasons. A dominant first half proved to be too much to overcome for New Haven, as they fought back from a 17-point deficit, making it as close as a one-point game in the second half, but were unable to complete the comeback.

Saint Anselm started the game on fire from the field, making five shots in a row to start the game on a 14-7 run. After a three-pointer from New Haven guard Ty Perry, the Hawks continued their dominant start with a three from guard Matt Becker.

New Haven’s conference-best defense could not keep up with Saint Anselm’s shooting to start the game, taking as much as a 13-point lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Guard Miles Tention continued to make big plays for Saint Anselm, knocking down two consecutive threes to stretch their lead to 17. Already facing a huge deficit with their backs against the wall, New Haven took a timeout with 7:14 left in the half. looking to find a way to stop Saint Anselm’s dynamic offense and bring themselves back in the game.
With time winding down in the first half, New Haven quickly saw their huge deficit erased with an 11-0 run led by Perry and guard Quashawn Lane to make it a six-point game. Their defense made some big stops to keep Saint Anselm off the board, with the help of a big block by forward Majur Majak, his first of four blocks in the game.

The closing minutes of the first half were dominated by Saint Anselm, going into the break with a comfortable 13-point lead after Tention added to his game-high 24 points with an and-one in the final seconds.

With just 20 minutes left to play for a conference championship, New Haven showed signs of life on offense, making it an eight-point game after Lane added to his team-high 21 points with a three-pointer.

After Tention added his fourth three-pointer of the game, Perry brought New Haven within three with eight consecutive points, capped off by two threes that forced Saint Anselm to take a timeout.

An errant pass by Saint Anselm turned into a huge turnover, resulting in a layup to make it a one-point game after a layup from guard Kendall McMillan. Despite coming all the way back from a 17-point deficit to make it a one-score game, New Haven could not manage to take the lead, as Saint Anselm’s offense that averaged the second most points per game in the NE-10 continued to attack the defense and come away with huge baskets to stay ahead.

Tention’s fifth three-pointer of the game sealed the game for the Hawks, taking a 10-point lead with 2:37 left to play. Tention electrified the Saint Anselm crowd again with a steal and a huge dunk with a minute left, sending New Haven home in the championship again for their third NE-10 title in five years.

Despite their championship run being cut short, New Haven will have another chance in the playoffs as they kick off the NCAA Division ll East Regional Championship on Sat. March 11. The Chargers will have a quick turnaround to get ready for regionals, as they look to build on their historical season and make another deep playoff run.