Sweet 16 round great for Scots

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Trevor Gernaat picked a great time to have a career night, propelling Alma into the Elite Eight vs. undefeated Benedictine.
Alma athletics photo

It was another big night for Dan Fanelly, who had 26 for Wooster.
Wooster athletics file photo

Wooster has been in the Sweet 16 a total of 10 times in the past 18 seasons, while Alma has gotten to this round just once, ever. But both Scots will be dancing in elite company after winning on the road Friday night.

Dan Fanelly hit two free throws with 4.8 seconds left in the game and Brian Sortino had the ball stolen before he could get off a last-second shot attempt as Wooster escaped to the Elite Eight with a 66-65 win at Oswego State. The Lakers (22-9) took the lead on a Sortino free throw with 16.4 seconds left but could not hold on against Fanelly, who forced up a one-handed shot and was sent to the line.

Wooster (24-7) led the entire second half before Oswego State went on a 9-0 run, capped by Mark Candelario’s layup off a feed from Sortino with 1:17 left. Fanelly answered with a three-point play and Sortino followed with foul shots with 16.4 left before Fanelly and the Scots made the Lakers pay in the closing seconds.

Alma isn’t just making its first trip to the Elite Eight, of course – it’s these Scots’ first trip to the NCAA Tournament period, and they extended their visit by defeating St. Norbert for the second time this season, 70-64. Trevor Gernaat scored a career-high 25 points, 16 of them in the first half, to lead all scorers, adding a career-best four 3-pointers. Chase Fairchild netted a season-high 17 points and matched a season-high with five 3-pointers.

Benedictine extended its perfect season for another night as the Eagles ousted Ohio Wesleyan, 97-84. The Battling Bishops shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half (17-for-29) but could not stop Benedictine's attack. The Eagles tallied 11 assists to just two turnovers and Lucas Johnson scored 11 of his 23 points after the break for Benedictine (29-0). Nate Axelrod poured in 27 points and nine assists for Ohio Wesleyan (25-5).

Tim Daly scored five points and Aaron McFarland added four over a crucial six-minute stretch of the second half as Christopher Newport broke a 52-all tie en route to a 74-62 win over Keene State in the sectional round at Oswego State. Keene State shot 2-for-9 as the Captains (29-1) opened up a 66-58 lead and went on to win. It’s just the second time in program history that the Captains have advanced to the round of eight, with the last being in 2001. 

St. Thomas shot 62.9 percent from floor and 8-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half as the Tommies rolled out to a 54-30 lead and sent Whitman home from its first-ever Sweet 16 with a 99-73 defeat. The No. 8 Tommies (27-3) went on 15-0 and 9-0 runs in the first half. Grant Shaeffer led all scorers with a game-high 18. 

Top-ranked Augustana had a similarly easy time in beating Emory 88-65 and moving one step closer to a return trip to the national semifinals. The Vikings outrebounded the Eagles by 15 and shot 62 percent from three (13-for-21). Tayvian Johnson notched 12 points and 11 rebounds for Augustana (29-1) which hosts St. Thomas tomorrow night.

Joey Flannery gave it his best shot but reinjured himself in the first half and struggled to 14 points on 6-for-17 shooting as Amherst advanced to the Elite Eight with an 88-76 win over the Beavers. David Hixon’s team had five players in double figures, including Jayde Dawson with a game-high 19, in the win. 

The Jumbos got a big game from their big man and Tufts beat Johnson & Wales 101-85. Tom Palleschi had seven blocks and stifled the Wildcats' penetration game. JWU star Quarry Greenaway was largely ineffective and fouled out with eight minutes remaining in the ballgame. Tom Garrick Jr led Johnson & Wales with 30 points, but Tufts shot 51 percent from the floor. Steven Haladyna led the way with 30 points for the Jumbos who will host Amherst tomorrow in the sectional final. The two teams split their prior two meetings with Tufts winning in the regular season and Amherst winning in the NESCAC tournament.