Saturday men: Back from the Brink

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Jordan Brink's heroics pulled the Calvin Knights back from the brink of missing the NCAA Tournament. More photos from this game.
Photo by Eric Kelley, special for

Jordan Brink nailed a jumper with five seconds left and Calvin edged Hope 70-69 to cap an incredible comeback and win the MIAA's automatic bid.

The Flying Dutchmen scored the first 13 points of the game and held a 39-24 halftime lead. Calvin fought back to within one, 69-68, and Hope grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled with 19 seconds left. But the Flying Dutchmen, who shot 20-for-21 from the free throw line to that point, missed the front end of the one-and-one, setting up Brink's game-winning shot. Watch Brink's shot here

Earlier in the afternoon, the student defeated the master in the USA South Athletic Conference as former Maryville player and assistant coach Kendal Wallace led LaGrange past the Scots 70-64 for the conference title. Nick Mitchell was named USA South tournament MVP for the second consecutive year after he poured in 28 points and had eight rebounds on Sunday.

LaGrange, and everyone else who clinches this weekend, and all the teams waiting on the bubble, will find out their NCAA Tournament fate on Monday afternoon. The Division III men's basketball selection show starts at 12:30 p.m. ET and we will have it on

The defending national champions entered the NCAA tournament in style. UW-Whitewater shot 65 percent from the floor in the first half against UW-Oshkosh and the Warhawks cruised past the Titans, 71-57.

Jawan Straughter helped lift Augustana over Illinois Wesleyan for the 2015 CCIW tournament title.
Augustana photo by Steve Woltmann

Jawan Straughter came up big down the stretch for Augustana in its CCIW tournament finale against Illinois Wesleyan. He scored the go-ahead basket for the Vikings, blocked the Titans' potential game-tying shot and then hit two free throws to help seal the 78-74 victory.

Stevenson roared out to a 26-9 lead to open the game and led by 16 at the half. But Alvernia's run through the Commonwealth Conference tournament continued as the Crusaders went on a 19-2 run in the second half and went on to corral the Mustangs 58-51. Lamont Clark scored a game-high 22 points for Alvernia, which still had legs left despite playing just six players all game. The Crusaders are 8-0 in the Commonwealth playoffs since joining the conference in 2008.

The building of the Sage men's basketball program took a large step forward this season, following last year's first-ever winning season with its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Andre Robinson scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half as the Gators pulled away from St. Joseph's (L.I.) to win 84-70, improving to 23-4.

Last year Emory was one of those teams waiting for Selection Monday, got in as a bubble team and made a nice postseason run. This year, Emory clinched the University Athletic Association title by defeating Rochester 88-69. Jonathan Terry came off the bench to lead the Eagles with 18 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. 

Seventh-ranked Albertus Magnus won its 26th consecutive game and saved itself a lot of anguish over the next two days by defeating Johnson and Wales 98-85. Tavon Sledge was on fire for the Falcons, with 35 points, while Victor Ljuljdjuraj had 24 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocked shots in the win.

Regis (Mass.) made the next couple of days very uncomfortable for Southern Vermont, defeating the Mountaineers 74-72 in the NECC final. The final 1:49 was all free throws, as Southern Vermont rallied from a seven-point deficit to tie the game before Jordan Monts hit a pair of freebies with four seconds left for the win. The NECC has gotten an at-large team in the field precisely once, in 2011.

Wyatt Smith was fouled in the final second and hit two pressure-packed free throws to lift Salisbury to a 58-57 win over Christopher Newport and the Capital Athletic Conference title. Brian Sortino and Walter Sampson scored 17 points apiece as Oswego State jumped out to a 17-2 lead, weathered a second-half flurry in Plattsburgh and pulled away for a 70-58 win. 

Wesleyan knocked off in-state rival Trinity (Conn.) 55-52 on its home floor on Saturday afternoon, bouncing the Bantams in the NESCAC semifinals and perhaps opening the door for three NESCAC teams to make the NCAA Tournament, even in a down year for the conference. It wasn't a particularly inspiring display of basketball, as Wesleyan shot 33 percent from the floor and was just 5-for-17 from 3-point range. 

Springfield defeated WPI in the NEWMAC semifinals, putting the Engineers in the mix for an at-large (Pool C) bid, where they will likely have to wait behind at least two NESCAC teams and also Eastern Connecticut. It's very possible that there will be that many at-large teams from the NESCAC, but WPI (21-5) doesn't have the gaudy strength of schedule typical of Northeast Region teams.