LOWELL, Mass. — Freshman BJ Cardarelli scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half as Southern New Hampshire upended No. 23 Massachusetts-Lowell 80-68 in Northeast-10 action on Sunday afternoon at the Costello Center. The Penmen improved to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the NE-10, while the River Hawks, the preseason favorite in the league, dropped their second consecutive game and are now 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the league. Southern New Hampshire is off to its best start since the 2005-06 season.
Cardarelli, who posted his second consecutive 24-point effort, was 8-11 from the floor, 3-4 behind the arc and 5-5 at the free throw line while also grabbing seven rebounds and recording three steals. He led four players in double figures for the Penmen. Lucas Croteau totaled a season-high 16 points on 7-9 shooting, while Elijah Bonsignore added 12 points. Aleksandar Dobrovic finished with 10 points, eight assists and five assists for SNHU.
Akeem Williams led UMass Lowell with 17 points, while Matt Welch knocked down five three-pointers and totaled 15 points. Antonio Bivins notched 13 points and five rebounds.
Southern New Hampshire, which entered halftime tied 41-41 with the hosts, opened the second half on a 17-4 run and a layup by Greg DeSantis with 14:30 to play gave the Penmen a 58-45 advantage. The visitors took their largest lead at 63-47 with 12:26 to go when Bonsignore made 1-of-2 at the line.
UMass Lowell used an 8-0 spurt to climb back within seven at 66-59 with just under eight minutes remaining on a Bivins dunk. The River Hawks would cut the lead to seven one more time, on a Williams basket with six minutes to go, but would get no closer the rest of the way.
In a first half that saw four ties and 12 lead changes, UMass Lowell took its largest lead of the game, 17-11, with 13:25 to go on a three by Welch. Southern New Hampshire would reel off a 15-3 run capped by a layup by Cardarelli at the 9:08 mark to give the Penmen a 26-20 lead. The two teams were knotted at 41 at the break.
The Penmen shot a blistering 59.3% (31-61) in the first half and 50.8% for the game while limiting the River Hawks to 36.7% shooting over the final 20 minutes and 43.5% for the game. Both teams committed 17 turnovers, but SNHU owned a 24-11 advantage in points off turnovers, as well as a 43-11 lead in bench points. Southern New Hampshire outrebounded UMass Lowell 38-30.