Big games in the CACC and NE-10 highlight the Tuesday schedule, and we begin the regional roundup with the playoff scenarios in the former conference:
BLOOMFIELD 78 POST 64
Nick Davidson collected 21 points (8-14 FG, 3-6 from 3-point land) and nine rebounds, and Bloomfield avenged an early home loss against Post with a huge win in Waterbury to take a two-game lead atop the CACC North. Claude Blue (19 points) and Rakwan Kelly (16) were also key players for the Bears, who led for the lion’s share of the ballgame, outshooting their hosts 52%-38% while dominating at the free-throw line (16-19 to 4-5), in the paint (40-24) and off turnovers (23-7). The Eagles got as close as 44-36 early in the second half before Davidson drained a three to trigger a 14-5 run and open up a 58-41 lead at the 12-minute mark. The margin crested at 22 (77-55) with 3:14 to play after seven straight Kelly points as Bloomfield cruised down the stretch. Tamas Okros paced Post with 18 points (3-5 from long distance), while Tyler Desrosiers added 17 (7-12 FG, 3-5 from deep) and Shay Agboola contributed 11 in his first start.
CONCORDIA 85 DOMINICAN 77
Teams 2 through 7 in the North Division are now separated by just two-and-a-half games, with a virtual game of musical chairs in progress for the final three playoff spots. At the Meyer Center, Concordia earned a huge victory over Dominican to forge a tie for third with its cross-Hudson rivals. Jalen Heath led five Clippers in double figures with 21 points, including four foul shots to close out the game’s scoring, and freshman phenom Steven Milhaven tossed in 19, but the “x-factor” for the home team was grad student guard A.J. Burton, who came off the bench and torched his former team with four triples in five attempts en route to a season-high 14-point, six-rebound, five-assist, four-steal performance. Gerrel Irvin compiled 20 points, seven boards and four assists for the Chargers, who held a 74-71 lead with three-and-a-half minutes left before Peter Aguilar (11 points) buried his third trey in five attempts to knot the score and spark a critical 14-3 charge to close the contest. Andrew Peacock chipped in with 11 points for Concordia, which was slightly outshot (53%-50%) and outrebounded (31-25) but was noisier from downtown Bronxville (12-23 to 9-22) and perfect at the stripe (15-15 compared to DC’s 10-14) while also outscoring Dominican 17-7 on the break. Sean O’Reilly came off the bench to score 12 points on 4-7 shooting beyond the arc for the Chargers, who also landed Kristopher Hargraves in double figures with 11 points and four steals.
FELICIAN 66 NYACK 61
Jeyvi Miavivilulu erupted for a career-high 29 points (10-15 FG), nine rebounds and seven blocked shots (one off the program record) to power Felician past Nyack at Bowman Gym and keep its faint playoff hopes alive. Marko Kozul contributed 13 points and eight caroms for the Golden Falcons, who never trailed on the night, using a 13-2 surge out of the halftime break (the last seven by Miavivilulu) in stretching a 26-22 lead to 39-24. The Warriors – who were fronted by Jaron Smith’s 18 points (5-8 from long range) – narrowed the gap to 51-48 on the junior transfer's triple with 4:31 remaining but Kennedy Chukwuocha (eight points) converted a key “And-1” to initiate a 7-2 spurt and make it 58-50 with 1:38 on the clock. Fifth-place Nyack closed within five points on three occasions, including the final tally, but slipped a game-and-a-half off the playoff pace with the setback. Neither team shot it well (FU 39%, NC 31%) as Felician sidled within two games of the final playoff position with three games to go. Imran Ritchie totaled 13 points and seven boards in defeat for the Warriors.
SCIENCES 72 PHILADELPHIA 63
All three games in the South Division occurred in the City of Brotherly Love. A streaky game between crosstown rivals saw University of the Sciences outlast Philadelphia at Morgan Arena to sweep the season series and move within a game-and-a-half of second place in the South. The Devils jumped out to a 22-8 lead, but the Rams opened the second stanza with a 21-3 rampage, grabbing a 40-34 advantage after a lay-up by Peter Alexis (21 points on 8-11 shooting) with 9:35 to play. The tables quickly turned at that point as Sho Da-Silva powered home consecutive lay-ups to launch a 22-7 counter-run, capping it was a slam at the 3:30 mark that gave his team a 56-47 upper hand. Philly U – which committed 13 of the game’s 17 turnovers and was outscored 16-5 off those mistakes – came as close as 64-60 on a free throw by T.J. Huggins (19 points, 7-12 FG) with 1:36 left but USciences closed out the game with six straight free throws and another Da-Silva dunk, outscoring its guests 36-20 in the paint and 10-0 on the break. Wes Kerr logged 20 points, with Da-Silva (19), Will Gregorits (13) and T-John Cassiello (12 on 5-6 shooting, 2-2 from 3) also making impacts for the Devils. Brandon Kilpatrick finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Rams, who made 6 of 11 from beyond the arc but were uncharacteristically outworked at the line (19-31 to 11-15).
CHESTNUT HILL 86 WILMINGTON 78
In just his seventh game, senior guard Ryan Griffin provided the huge lift with a career-high 25 points off the bench, including 7-9 from distance as Chestnut Hill outlasted Wilmington at Sorgenti Arena and moved a half-game up on idle Goldey-Beacom for the fourth and final playoff berth in the South. Demetrius Isaac accumulated 22 points (16-18 FT), six rebounds and eight assists for the Griffins, who rode a 30-13 wave to erase a 53-47 deficit and move in front 77-66 with 2:27 remaining. Edward McWade – who was relatively silent on the night – punctuated the rally with a traditional 3-point pay (his only points), and the Griffs cashed in six straight freebies over the final 37 seconds to seal the deal as the Wildcats came as close as six points on four occasions down the stretch but could not break that barrier despite placing five in double digits. As expected, Tyaire Ponzo-Meek was high man for the Cats with 24 points (5-8 from deep), followed by Paul Medlin (17 points, eight rebounds), Sam Sanders (14 in a reserve role), Brian Adkins (12 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Drew Johnson (11 points, five helpers). Led by Griffin’s radar accuracy, the team that incorporates his name scorched the nets from beyond the arc (14-27 compared to WU’s 8-22), making its most threes since joining Division 2 (they went 15-30 vs. Philadelphia Bible on January 31, 2006). Chestnut Hill also fared better at the foul line (26-32 to 14-18) and on the fast-break (17-4), offsetting a 34-14 disparity in the paint and 17-11 shortfall in the turnover department.
HOLY FAMILY 104 GEORGIAN COURT 58
The region’s first 20-win team is Holy Family, which slaughtered Georgian Court for its seventh straight win and 16th in a row at the Campus Center. This one was never in doubt as the Tigers – the stingiest defensive team in the nation – racked up 36 of the first 40 points, allowing just one hoop over the first 10:44 on the way to a 51-31 halftime cushion. That would be as close as the Lions would get, however, as the division leaders ran away during the last 20 minutes, the lead ballooning to 100-47 before all was said and done. Ten of 11 Tigers who saw action scored, with six reaching double figures: Hunter Wysocki (career highs of 23 points and 13 rebounds off the bench, 7-11 FG, 3-4 from 3), Isaiah Gans (15 points), Reggie Charles (14 points, seven assists), Xavier Williams (12 points off the pine), James McDonnell (12 points, 5-6 FG, six boards as a reserve) and Marvin Crawford (10 points, six rebounds, four assists, three blocks), with Derrick Stewart narrowly missing a double-double of his own with nine points and 11 caroms. Nikola Vujovic topped the Lions’ scorecard with 17 points (6-9 FG) and seven rebounds, while Juwuan Carter and Keith Hughes posted identical 12-point, nine-rebound lines as their team dropped its fourth straight, the last two by a combined 74 points. Holy Family shot a dizzying 16-54 from long range (23-36 inside the arc) to Georgian Court’s 3-23. The Tigers also won the glass (58-46, including 26-11 on the offensive end) and murdered its guests off mistakes (36-7), thanks to the vastly superior assist-turnover ratio (29/8 to 15/23). Their 10-24 showing at the line was their only statistical blemish.
MERRIMACK 91 STONEHILL 84
There were three NE-10 games on the docket, each one with playoff ramifications. In North Easton, Troy Hammel led five in double figures with 28 points (7-11 FG, 4-6 from deep, 10-10 FT) as Merrimack led from wire to wire and stunned Stonehill to keep its flickering playoff dreams afloat. The Warriors reeled off the first 12 points of the contest and extended its advantage to 36-16 before the Skyhawks began making inroads in the second half. Trailing 71-55 after a Hammel jumper with 7:59 to go, the hosts closed within five on two occasions, the last being 89-84 after a Carter Smith 3-ball with 14 seconds on the clock. Hammel slammed the door with two foul shots three seconds later, as Merrimack avenged a buzzer-beating home loss and stayed within two games of the fifth and final playoff slot in the stacked Northeast Division with four to play. JT Strickland recorded 21 points (8-13 FG) for the winners, who also landed Gelvis Solano (17 points, six rebounds, six assists), Anthony Barry (12 points, six boards) and Kyle Howes (10, 6 off the bench) in twin figures. Smith topped the Stonehill scorecard with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. He was flanked by Adam Bramanti (19 points, 7-11 FG, 4-8 from 3), Pierce Cumpstone (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Ryan Logan (16 points, six caroms, six assists). The Warriors were outshot from distance (14-32 to 8-18) and out-assisted (18-11) but did more damage at the free-throw line (25-34 to 14-19) and in the paint (40-24), which was enough to swing the pendulum in their favor.
FRANKLIN PIERCE 90 ST. MICHAEL’S 74
Franklin Pierce still holds that two-game edge for the final playoff spot after pulling away from St. Michael’s in Vermont. Asante Sandiford enjoyed a perfect shooting night (6-6 FG, 2-2 from deep 1-1 FT), commandeering the Ravens’ late 16-2 run with a layup, 3-point play and trifecta on consecutive possessions as the visitors expanded a 70-68 lead to 86-70 just inside the final minute. The game was a see-saw affair to that point with seven ties and 11 lead changes, including five within the first 1:44 of the second half. Donte Gittens’ 3-pointer with 11:46 left provided the last lead swap, commencing an 8-0 run that gave the Ravens a 64-57 advantage with 10:17 remaining. Matt Banton garnered 22 points off the bench for Pierce, which saw all 16 of its players get into the act (10 scoring), including Gittens (15 points, 5-7 FG, 2-2 from 3, nine assists) and Mike McDevitt (14 points). Levi Holmes III matched a personal best with 21 points (7-10 FG) for the Purple Knights, who also received solid efforts from Matt Bonds (16 points, 13 rebounds, four assists), Greg Grippo (15 points) and Morrell Gaskins (10). The Ravens made more than twice as many treys (13-30 to 6-18), were more accurate from the line (13-17 to 14-24) and boasted the stronger assist-turnover line (23/7 to 13/12). St. Mike’s won the battle of the boards, 37-34.
Le MOYNE 64 PACE 56
Qwadere Lovell came up big down the stretch in Le Moyne’s victory over New York rival Pace in Syracuse to snap a five-game slide. The senior guard – who notched 11 of his 13 points and all five of his assists after intermission – connected on a huge three from the top of the key with 2:16 to go that made it a 59-54 game, then blocked a shot in transition, drew a charge, grabbed two rebounds and sank 3-4 at the stripe in the waning seconds to lift the Dolphins, who closed the game with a 15-5 flourish over the last 6:38. Lovell added seven rebounds to his stat line, while rookie guard Eriq Jenkins netted 13 of his 15 points in the opening period and snatched a personal-best eight rebounds for the victors. Trailing 51-49 after a trifecta by Shelton Mickell (13 points), Anthony Richards (nine points) kicked off the big run with back-to-back 3-pointers, the first one providing the 13th and final lead change of the night. Ryan Peterson double-doubled with 15 points (4-8 from deep) and 11 rebounds for the Setters, who also received 14 and six, respectively, from Bryan Rivers. Le Moyne is now a game-and-a-half out of the fifth and final playoff spot in the Southwest Division, which is co-occupied by Pace and idle American International.
MERCY 96 SUNY-DELHI 76
The lone ECC team in action was Mercy, which had no trouble with SUNY-Delhi of the USCAA in Dobbs Ferry, snagging its fourth straight win and moving over .500 in February for the first time since 1993. All 10 Mavericks who saw action scored, led by Shaquille Stokes, who drove home a career-high 29 points (11-19 FG, 5-8 from 3) in just 23 minutes off the bench, extending his team’s longest winning streak since the 2004-05 campaign. Stokes – who began his career at Division I Hawaii in 2011 and later played at Hofstra before stting out at Saint Rose – dropped in 11 to fuel a 20-8 flurry over the last 7:37 of the first half that put the Mavs on top to stay at 40-29. A 24-13 surge upon the restart lengthened the lead to 64-42, and it maxed out at 89-58 with 5:15 on the clock. Joshua Thompson delivered all 12 of his points in the second half on 5-5 shooting for Mercy, adding seven boards in his reserve outing. K.J. Rose chipped in with 11 points (5-7 FG), seven rebounds and five assists for the hosts, who won the glass (48-35, including 18-8 offensive) and dominated their guests on second-chance points (21-5), in the paint (59-26), on the break (13-4) and off turnovers (32-12). All five Broncos starters reached double figures, led by Zach Hall’s 18 points.
St. Anselm remains the only regionally ranked team on the latest NABC Division 2 Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, slipping 12 spots to #19 after an 0-2 week. Southern Connecticut is still receiving votes while Bentley is not. Western Oregon is the new #1.