Graduate student Chris Walters goes in for the dunk. (image credit: SNHU Penmen)

The Southern New Hampshire University Men’s Basketball team opened their season last weekend, November 11 and 12, with wins over District of Columbia and Goldey-Beacom. Graduate student Chris Walters (Stamford, Connecticut), along with senior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, New Hampshire) and junior Daquaise Andrews (Queens, New York), dominated the scoreboard during both games to bring the Penmen to a clean 2-0 season start for the second straight year.

Saturday’s game against District of Columbia saw Walters rack up 25 points, including 15 in the second half, while Andrews registered a double-double of 21 points, including a career best 13 boards and three helpers. Floras tallied 18 points, posting five rebounds and three steals. Together, Walters, Floras, and Andrews scored 64 of the team’s eventual 84 to lead the Penmen to an 84-69 victory.

During Sunday’s game against Goldey-Beacom, the Penmen posted a 74-71 come-back-from-behind win to keep the positive momentum moving. Walters stuffed the stat sheet during the game while recording a double-double 24 points. He shot 7-for-15 from the floor, including 1-for-3 from deep, and was a perfect 9-for-9 from the line, while tallying five blocks, five steals and three assists. Floras and Andrews scored big as well during Sunday’s game. Andrew posted 16 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Floras netted 18 points to go with six boards. The trio combined for 58 of the team’s 74 points.

Coach Stan Spirou, who is in his 33rd year coaching the Penmen, is pleased with the level of play Walters, Floras and Andrews have displayed in the Penmen’s first two games. The trio, according to Spirou, are the team’s “top scorers” and strongest players.

The team loses All American and Northeast-10 Player of the Year Devin Gilligan.. To make up for this loss, Spirou is working hard to blend the new players with the returning players who came off the bench last year. These players, such as junior Charlie Russo (Syracuse, New York) and sophomore Scott Toresco (Westfield, New Jersey), will complement the returning starters, according to Spirou.

Referring to Gilligan, Spirou says it is “hard to replace that kind of quality with incoming freshman. Even with the talent [we] brought in, it takes time to have the impact needed to replace [our] losses.” He will continue to work his current players hard to put them in a position to win the Northeast-10 conference, which is ultimately his goal.

To win the Northeast-10 conference, Spirou, who celebrated his 600th win last year, says the team needs to “play hard, play smart, and play together, because good things happen to teams that believe in that philosophy.”

The Penmen return to action today, November 15, at 7:30 p.m. when they travel to Saint Michael’s college for Northeast-10 action. They return home Tuesday, November 21, when they host Merrimack at 7:30 in the Fieldhouse.

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