February 23, 2013

Men: Falcons, Aggies fly high


Delaware Valley celebrated a MAC Freedom championship on Saturday.
Delaware Valley photo by Matt Levy

Fitchburg State and Delaware Valley completed wild rides to the NCAA Tournament with victories on Championship Saturday.

Fitchburg State, which was seeded fifth in the MASCAC tournament, defeated Massachusetts College 80-72 to secure the program's first ever trip to the NCAA tournament. Michael Ingram-Rubin scored 25 points and made seven of his eight field goal attempts, including all four 3-pointers.

Delaware Valley beat DeSales 77-72 for the Freedom title for the second time in three years. This time the Aggies won on the road behind Jeremy Beckett's 25 points and 10 rebounds. Brett Moyer collected 26 rebounds for DeSales, setting a school single-game record, to go along with 19 points.

This is the second time in four years Delaware Valley has gone from worst to first in the conference. The Aggies finished tied for last in the Freedom in 2012.

The defending champions guaranteed their title defense will continue as UW-Whitewater defeated UW-Platteville 66-55 for the WIAC automatic bid. Darnell Harris had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lift the Warhawks.

Emory rolled over No. 13 Rochester 72-54 and No. 22 Washington University dispatched Chicago by the same score, forcing a three-way tie for the UAA title and handing the automatic bid to Wash U. Rochester lost three of its last four games and four of its last seven to nudge the Yellowjackets into at-large bid territory. Wash U got 17 apiece from Chris Klimek and Ben Hoener in the win.

It's been a long time since the program that produced the 2001 national champion has had a conference title to celebrate.
Catholic U. athletics photo

Shawn Holmes scored a team-high 16 points, 14 of them in the second half including the game-winner with 3.0 seconds left to lift No. 11 Catholic past Juniata 63-62 for the Landmark Conference title. Alex Raymond, who scored a game-high 22 points for Juniata, had given the Eagles a lead with a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left, but after Holmes missed a jumper, a Juniata player reached for the rebound while standing with a foot out of bounds, giving Catholic the second chance.

Whitworth kept a team's bubble from popping by steamrolling rival Whitman 93-72 and winning the Northwest Conference title. Redlands defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 73-64 to win the SCIAC and set up a likely first-round meeting in Washington.

No. 14 St. Mary's (Md.) played without Devin Spencer, who was announced as a starter, then removed because of an injury sustained earlier in the week, then needed to go to overtime to beat Wesley 79-78 for the Capital Athletic Conference crown. James Davenport struggled in his stead (seven points, 0-for-6 from outside) but Nick Laguerre scored a team-high 23, including the Seahawks' final six points.

No. 24 Ohio Wesleyan beat No. 17 Wooster 76-66, all but assuring the NCAC will get two teams into the NCAA Tournament. Wooster was ranked first in the region in the latest NCAA regional rankings, Ohio Wesleyan second.  

Calvin won the MIAA automatic bid with a 77-57 victory against archrival Hope in front of nearly 4,300. Bryan Powell led four players in double figures for Calvin with 18 points.

Tahrike Carter scored 13 and Nyheem Sanders added 13 off the bench to lift No. 16 Rhode Island College to a 60-53 win against Keene State in the Little East Conference final. Rhode Island College clinched a tournament bid for the seventh consecutive season.

Jeremy Smith scored 24 points to lift No. 25 Cortland State to its first SUNYAC tournament title since 2000 with a 75-61 win against Plattsburgh State. Plattsburgh has an outside shot at an at-large bid, but likely must hope Stevens gets an at-large bid as well after the Ducks lost to Ithaca. It will be Cortland's first NCAA trip since 2006.

Dickinson cruised to the win at Franklin and Marshall in the Centennial Conference final, beating the Diplomats 64-40 and likely ending their four-year run of NCAA Tournament appearances. For the Red Devils, it's the first time in the tournament since 1997.

St. Norbert advanced to the dance for the third time in four seasons, rolling past Carroll 92-68. Since 2002, the team that has beaten Grinnell in the semifinals, as Carroll did, has gone 0-7 the next day in the Midwest Conference championship game. Brenton Balsbaugh scored 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting to lift Rose-Hulman past Hanover 64-59 for the HCAC title. Spalding makes the NCAA Tournament in its first year of eligibility, defeating Eureka 64-62 in overtime. Jametrius Brasher led the Golden Eagles with 20 points and six blocked shots.

Andre French scored 27 points on 8-for-18 shooting as Elms pulled away from Regis (Mass.) 91-78 to win the New England Collegiate Conference crown. It's Elms' fifth trip to the big dance in seven seasons.

Lance Westberg scored 23 points and Tom Gisler had a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards as Northwestern (Minn.) won the UMAC for the third consecutive season by defeating Bethany Lutheran 79-73.

Husson got balanced scoring, including two double-digit scorers off the bench as it defeated Castleton State 74-68 for the NAC crown. Aaron Willis scored 16 points in 22 minutes as a reserve as the teams combined to shoot 52 percent from the floor and 57 percent from beyond the arc.

Darius Watson had 34 points and 12 rebounds to lead Albertus Magnus to an 87-80 win at top-seeded Anna Maria to win the GNAC title.

Saturday's semifinals

In men's semifinal action, No. 2 Amherst took care of Tufts 80-64 and will await its archrival, No. 7 Williams in tomorrow's final. The Ephs defeated No. 4 Middlebury 87-80 in overtime. Peter Kaasila scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half for the top-seeded Lord Jeffs. Michael Mayer had a double-double for Williams with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

No. 6 WPI survived a scare at home in the NEWMAC semifinals thanks to a last-second shot by Zach Karalis. His layup lifted the Engineers past Babson 66-64. Sean Martin and Alex Berthiaume had statistically opposite Saturdays but each ended up with 21 points as Springfield knocked MIT out of the NEWMAC tournament 68-60. Entering the week as the No. 6 team in the Northeast regional rankings, MIT still has a shot at an at-large bid, while Springfield will play WPI for the automatic qualifier on Sunday. Martin shot 7-for-9 from the floor, Berthiaume 6-for-22.

Randolph-Macon knocked off archrival and No. 12-ranked Hampden-Sydney in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference semifinals on Saturday evening 64-59 behind 14 from Chris Hamilton and 11 from Lamar Giggetts. Hampden-Sydney shot just 5-for-22 from the outside and will wait for an at-large bid. If Randolph-Macon beats Virginia Wesleyan on Sunday for the title, someone's bubble will pop as well. The Marlins handled Randolph 78-68 in the other semifinal.

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