NCAA Div. II East Regional Notebook: Hawks' Santo puts on a show in losing effort
MANCHESTER - St. Anselm sophomore forward Chris Santo, a 6-foot-6 transfer from Vermont, put on a show in the NCAA Division II East Regional on Saturday afternoon.
He was one of the few bright spots for the No. 2-seeded Hawks in a 77-66 loss to No. 7 Bridgeport.
Santo scored 32 points and collected 12 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.
"He's a terrific player," said Bridgeport coach Mike Ruane.
He'll get no argument from St. Anselm coach Keith Dickson.
"He's a real difficult matchup for anybody," Dickson said. "He's so aggressive at the basket. He gets you on cuts. It's not just isolation dribble drives. He gets you in a lot of different ways and he's real good on the offensive glass."
Santo made 11 of his 18 field goals on Saturday and made 57 percent of his shots from the floor during the season. He had the 11 field goals against Bridgeport. The rest of the Hawks combined for 12.
"He's a hard guard at this level," Dickson said. "Whether he's defended by a four-man or a five-man, he seems to find his advantage and then goes to work."
Santo's aggressiveness tends to get him in foul trouble at times.
Dickson has used him off the bench all season. The Hawks weren't sure what they had in Santo at the start of the season and as they had success, why mess with it, the coach figured.
"Chris didn't have any problems with it and in reality, he always gave us such a spark off the bench, whether it was at four, five, six minutes or whenever I decided to put him in," Dickson said. "But he's not a bench player."
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One eerily matching set of statistics show a major part of the reason why Southern New Hampshire and St. Anselm lasted one game in the Regionals: SNHU shot 31.6 percent from the floor and 15.4 percent from three-point range in its 73-65 loss to Assumption; St. Anselm shot 31.5 percent from the floor and 15 percent in treys in its 77-66 loss to Bridgeport. . . . Mike McCahey, a 6-foot-6 forward, had 12 of St. Anselm's 50 rebounds. Sophomore Roy Mabrey scored 14 points. . . . The Hawks made three of their 20 three-pointers, Bridgeport was 4-for-18.