38 of the region’s 40 team were in action over the past two days (Pace and Queens sat the weekend out), and there were big games played in all three conferences. Let’s begin the regional roundup with an upset in North Andover:


Gelvis Solano led five in double figures with 28 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:16 to play that commenced a 9-0 game-ending run and carried Merrimack to a potential season-saving win vs. #7 St. Anselm, handing its guests consecutive losses for the first time all season. An early 21-11 lead hardly foreshadowed the super-tight contest that was to follow as the two NE-10 divisional rivals experienced 15 ties, 14 lead changes and nothing more than a single-possession difference from the 13-minute mark of the second half to the final seconds. The final deadlock came at the 1:38 mark after a 3-ball by Mike McCahey (23 points, 4-8 from long range), setting up Solano’s bomb 22 seconds later. After a stop, Troy Hammel (16 points) hit a jumper and the Warriors sank four straight free throws over the final 23 seconds to cap the scoring. JT Strickland collected 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the winners, who also received 10 points apiece from Anthony Barry (seven rebounds) and Kyle Howes (six boards off the bench). Victor Joshua garnered 16 points and six rebounds for the Hawks, who also landed Tim Guers (14 points, seven caroms, four assists) and Harrison Taggart (11 points) in double figures. St. A’s was the superior shooting team (52%-47%) and was more potent from beyond the arc (10-25 to 6-19) but was super sloppy with the ball, committing 21 of the game’s 30 turnovers and getting outscored 22-4 off of those miscues. Merrimack also dominated the paint (48-28) in moving within two games of a playoff spot. The Hawks fall into a tie for second in the same Northeast Division.


Bentley gained sole possession of first place after averting disaster at the Dana Center, outlasting Assumption thanks to a monster game by Tyler McFarland (career-high 36 points, 10 rebounds and zero turnovers) and some missed opportunities down the stretch by the visitors. Both teams swapped 11-2 runs in the second half, with the Falcons engineering the latter one to grab a 69-64 lead after a pair of McFarland foul shots with 6:24 left. Assumption knotted the count at 71-71 before a 9-3 spurt – bookended by Keegan Hyland triples – put the hosts on top for good, 80-74 at the 1:33 stage. The Hounds crept within a deuce on two occasions – the latter at 83-81 after a lay-up from Mat Sulda (four points, six rebounds) with 16.8 seconds remaining. And they made the home team sweat as Tre Owens (19 points) stole the ball and launched a potential go-ahead three that ccaromed off the front rim. Declan Soukup (10 points, five assists) gathered the offensive board but his tying shot attempt was blocked by Matt Barr and a second follow came after the buzzer, consigning Assumption to a seventh straight setback. Hyland finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for Bentley, which also saw Alex Furness contribute 17 points, primarily on 5-7 long-distance shooting. Justin Tuckson sported a personal-best 19 points (7-11 FG, 4-6 from 3) in a reserve role for the Greyhounds, who also landed Julian Aiken (13 points) and Reilly Reid (11) in doubles. Both teams were potent from 3-point land (BU 11-24, AC 14-28) and boasted outstanding assist-turnover ratios (BU 15/8, AC 13/4).


Stonehill is now tied for second after withstanding a late run in Rindge and slipping past Franklin Pierce. The Skyhawks never trailed in this one, jumping out to leads of 12-2 and 42-25 before the hosts began chipping away. A 12-2 surge slashed a 78-67 deficit to 80-79 after a Donte Gittens trey with 30 seconds on the clock. Pierce Cumpstone – who finished with another double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds – split a pair at the stripe 12 seconds later, giving the hosts one final shot, but Matt Banton’s well-defended 3-pointer from the left corner for the lead bounced off the back rim, snapping a four-game win streak for the home side. Carter Smith chalked up 23 points and banged 5-6 from long range to lead Stonehill, which also benefited from solid efforts by Adam Bramanti (14 points), Ryan Logan (11 points, eight rebounds, five assists) and Joel Berroa, who accounted for all nine of his team’s bench points on perfect shooting (3-3 FG, 1-1 from 3, 2-2 FT). Gittens was high man for the Ravens with 24 points (10-15 FG, 3-5 from deep), eight rebounds, four helpers and two blocked shots. He was flanked by Tyler Iacuone (19 points, 7-10 FG, 5-6 from afar, six rebounds, seven assists) and Banton (17 off the pine). Franklin Pierce – whose lead is two games for the final playoff berth in the division – shot a shade better from the field (50%-48%) but the Skyhawks were slightly more efficient from behind the 3-point line (14-28 to 13-31) as well as from the stripe (13-15 to 2-7).


The most noteworthy game in the CACC saw Dominican rally in the second half to upend Philadelphia in Orangeburg and solidify its third-place position in the jam-packed North Division. The Chargers fell behind 16-5 and were fighting from behind all afternoon. Trailing 40-33 nearly five minutes into the second period, they launched a game-shaping 29-11 tear that afforded them a 62-51 advantage with 3:28 to go. Gerrel Irvin provided nine of his 13 points during the power run (including seven straight), and the Rams never mounted a serious threat the rest of the way, seeing their eight-game win streak go by the boards. Kristopher Hargraves led a balanced attack with 14 points and five assists for the winners, who also enjoyed impact performances from Joe Clinton (13 points, five assists in 40 minutes) and Altine King (eight points, seven rebounds, five steals off the bench). Peter Alexis registered 19 points for Philly U, which also placed Brandon Kilpatrick (16 points and four assists despite 10 turnovers) and Eric Long (11 points, eight boards) in double figures. Dominican won despite being outrebounded (36-29) and committing nearly twice as many turnovers (22-12). The Rams had won 20 straight games against North Division foes dating back to December 1, 2013, when they fell 82-67 on the same Hennessy Center floor.


Marko Kozul rang up 19 points (8-12 FG, 3-6 from 3), including the go-ahead baseline jumper with 2:06 to play as Felician scored the last six points of overtime and stunned University of the Sciences to move within two games of the playoff picture in the up-for-grabs North. Jamal Reid also netted 19 while adding six assists for the Golden Falcons, who landed all five starters in double figures and didn’t appear to need overtime after constructing a 40-20 lead late in the first half. The Devils got off the mat with a 19-2 burst early in the second stanza to pull within 48-45 after a 3-pointer from Wes Kerr (14 points while playing all 45 minutes). Felician held firm and was still ahead 71-66 inside the final 30 seconds when Will Gregorits banged a three and converted a lay-up around a Falcons turnover, tying the game with eight seconds left. On to overtime they went, and after Flo Da-Silva (12 points, eight rebounds) gave USciences a 75-73 lead on a transition lay-up with 3:41 to go, the visitors went ice cold, missing their last four shots while Jeyvi Miavivilulu (16 points, seven rebounds) nailed the clinching free throws with 11 seconds on the clock. C.J. Mwila (seven rebounds) and Kennedy Chukwuocha (eight) each pitched in with 11 points for Felician, which effectively used the long ball in its favor (11-23 to 3-16), offsetting disparities in the paint (42-22), on the break (14-0) and off turnovers (14-6). Sho Da-Silva totaled 24 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Devils, with Gregorits adding 17 points, six boards and four assists in his team’s fifth loss in six games.


Caldwell is now a game off the playoff pace after bolting out to a 42-22 lead over Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia and hanging on for dear life. Billy McDonald cashed in 21 points (9-13 FG) and eight rebounds for the Cougars, who led 58-42 near the midway mark of the second half before the Griffins came to life with a 24-10 rush, drawing within 68-66 on a lay-up by Antonio Toplyn, Jr. (nine points off the bench on 4-5 shooting) with 12 ticks remaining. Salvatore Vitello was fouled three seconds later and sealed the deal with two freebies, completing his 10-point, four-assist stat line. Dawan Lighty (17 points) and Ned Ogoemesim (11 points, 10 rebounds in a reserve role) played well for the victors, while Liban Awl (16 points), Edward McWade (15 points, eight rebounds, four assists) and Demetrius Isaac (10, 7, 5) topped the Chestnut Hill ledger. The Griffins – who claimed all 10 fast-break points – fall back into a tie for the fourth and final playoff slot in the South.


Goldey-Beacom now co-occupies that final South playoff spot after sneaking past Concordia in Pike Creek to halt a five-game slide. Parris Ridgeway-Higgs paced all five starters in double digits with 18 points (4-7 from deep), but it was Corey Taite’s left-corner 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play and the shot clock expiring that provided the dagger for the Lightning as the freshman guard ended the day with 17 points, four assists and five swipes. Algeron Torrence compiled 15 points and 11 rebounds for the hosts, who led 63-50 just over seven minutes into the second half after another Taite triple before the Clippers embarked on a 15-5 upswing, drawing within 68-65 after a Jalen Heath trifecta with 7:54 left. The game remained tight from that point on, with Steven Milhaven’s put-back at the 1:20 mark bringing the visitors within 76-74. Goldey managed to hold onto the ball for more than a minute after that thanks to a pair of fouls and culminating in Taite’s huge shot out of a timeout. A tip-in by Peter Aguilar with 2.7 seconds remaining made it a one-possession game, and Andrew Peacock came up with a late steal, but his three-quarter-court heave for the tie was off the mark. Shakeem Wilson (12 points, seven rebounds) and Sameen Swint (10 points, 5-7 FG off the bench) were solid for the Lightning, which shot 51% from the floor, including 11-21 from distance (CC was 8-27), offsetting a 4-8 showing at the foul line (CC was 12-16). Aguilar recorded 25 points for fourth-place Concordia, while Milhaven (17 points, 7-10 FG) and Heath (13 points, four assists) also played well in a losing effort. Remarkably, nine of the Clippers’ last 12 games have been decided by one possession (they’re 5-4 in those games).


The two hottest teams in the region earned hard-fought ECC victories in opposite corners of the Empire State over the weekend. On Long Island, Chaz Watler exploded for 29 points (9-12 FG, 4-4 from deep, 7-7 FT) and Shaq McFarlan pumped in 17 points (2-2 from downtown Brookville) and six rebounds in leading St. Thomas Aquinas past LIU Post for its region-best 12th straight victory. After spotting the Pioneers a 14-5 lead at the outset, the Spartans fought back and carved out a 30-27 lead at the break. It was still a modest 38-36 edge just over four minutes after the restart when a McFarlan lay-up triggered a key 11-0 dash that put STAC in control at 49-36. The advantage extended to 69-50 after a pair of Watler foul shots with an even three minutes on the clock, and Post never came closer than 13 the remainder of the ballgame. Reserve rookie Marcus Lawton produced 14 points (5-7 FG, 3-5 from 3) for first-place Aquinas, which scored more than twice as many points off turnovers (25-12). Greg Dotson notched 18 points (7-12 FG, 2-2 from long range) for the Pioneers, who have dropped five straight and slipped to fifth place. Jared Hall chipped in with 17 points and seven boards, while Dillon Burns mustered 11 points (3-5 from distance) and five assists for LIU Post, which shot noticeably better from beyond the arc (8-11) than the foul line (4-11). STAC was 9-18 and 12-13 by comparison.


Up in Amherst, redshirt freshman Deion Hamilton came through with a personal-best 19 points (7-12 FG) and seven rebounds as Daemen turned aside Bridgeport on Super Bowl Sunday in the battle for second place. A close game most of the way, there were 12 lead swaps and no more than a five-point separation for over 30 minutes before a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Torrence Dyck free throw at the 4:31 juncture, opened up a 64-56 lead. The margin bounced between five and nine the balance of the ballgame as the hosts bent but didn’t break thanks to 5-6 free-throw shooting over the final 51 seconds (12-14 over the last 2:30), cementing their ninth consecutive triumph. Dyck delivered 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Wildcats, who also received solid outings from Jay Sarkis (13 points, six boards) and Arif Mehmetaj (11 of his 13 points before the break, seven rebounds). Devon Elliot generated 18 points and six rebounds for third-place Bridgeport, with Muhammed Ahmed (12, 9) and Ernest Rouse (10 points) also reaching twin figures in a losing effort as the Purple Knights closed out their five-game, eight-day road odyssey at a respectable 3-2. Daemen was the superior shooting team (44%-33%) and got to the line twice as often (27-36 to 12-18), offsetting a 46-43 rebounding shortfall that led to UB’s 21-11 edge in second-chance scoring. The P-Knights were also a tad better from downtown Buffalo (7-27 to 3-19).


Jayone Troutman amassed 24 points (12-18 FG), 14 rebounds and four blocked shots, and District of Columbia used a 20-4 second-half spell to rally past Molloy at Quealy Gym to ascend into fourth place. Joseph Nickerson also logged a double-double with 21 points and 13 boards, along with four assists and two rejections as the Firebirds erased two double-digit deficits on the day. The hosts opened up leads of 17-6 and 33-23 before Nickerson poured in 10 of his points during a 16-0 outburst that gave UDC a 39-33 lead on the way to a 41-39 halftime edge. The Lions – who were powered by Charlie Marquardt’s 25-point (5-8 from deep), 10-rebound effort – roared out of the break with a 20-8 spree to zoom back in front 59-49 with 11:19 to go. It was 63-53 inside of the final eight minutes when the Firebirds set in motion their big run, which culminated in Troutman’s put-back slam with 2:13 to play, giving the visitors a 73-67 advantage. Kevin Bowles doubled his point total and halved the deficit with a 3-ball, but UDC made just enough free throws (4-6) over the final 43 seconds, and Troutman threw down a punctuation-mark dunk to nail it down. Kasim Chandler dispensed 13 points (9-10 FT), nine assists and four steals for the winners, who also received 11 points from Traevon Butler. Curtis Jenkins (11 points) and Brandon Williams (10 points, five assists) made their presences felt for Molloy, which was outshot (46%-35%) and dropped three games out of the last playoff spot. District of Columbia was bettered from beyond the arc (8-25 to 2-14) and outscored 19-10 off turnovers but helped offset those negatives by attempting nearly twice as many free throws (21-27 to 12-14).


The first regional team to claim a division title is Southern Connecticut, which assembled a huge early lead then hung on to defeat second-place Adelphi in New Haven thanks to super outings from Desmond Williams (25 points, career high-tying 15 rebounds) and Michael Mallory (24 points, nine boards, eight assists). Austin Carter also came up big with 19 points (8-13 FG) and six rebounds for the Owls, who never trailed in forging leads of 15-5 and 29-13 en route to a 43-22 halftime bulge. The Panthers – who received 24 points apiece from Anthony Libroia (four assists) and Michael Coffey (6-12 from 3) – whittled their deficit down to 88-81 following a triple by Manny Suarez (13 points, 12 caroms, three blocks), but there were only 24 seconds left at that point, and that would represent his team’s final scoring play. Carter’s slam closed it out after Southern swished 10 straight at the stripe to avert any late drama. Both teams weren’t shy to crank up the 3-pointers (SCSU 10-29, AU 14-41) but the Owls won the game due to the healthier assist-turnover line (18/7 to 12/17), leading to a 22-4 mandate in mistake points.


Juwan Moody erupted for a career-high 26 points (8-12 FG, 6-8 from long range) while Nolan Woodward racked up 16 points and 10 rebounds as American International won a key game from Le Moyne at Butova Gym, moving up two games on its guests in the race for the last playoff spot in the Southwest Division. The Yellow Jackets trailed only once (6-5) but didn’t take full control until a 15-6 charge stretched a 52-48 lead to 67-54 following a Moody three with 2:50 to play. Stan Buczek, Anthony Richards and Qwadere Lovell (five assists) each tabulated 10 points for the Dolphins, who were soundly outrebounded (47-28, including 16-6 on the offensive end, leading to a 19-4 boon in second-chance scoring) in dropping their fifth straight and 10th of 11 since the calendar flipped. AIC overcame subpar foul shooting (16-29 compared to LC’s 14-19) by faring better beyond the arc (10-22 to 7-28) and outscoring its guests 14-0 off mistakes despite both teams committing just 10 turnovers.


Samir McDaniels authored a career-best 21 points on 8-10 shooting, leading all five starters in double figures as New Haven remained viable in the playoff race with an upset of third-place Saint Rose in Albany, applying the brakes to a four-game slump and avenging an early-season home loss as a result. Michael Bourke (six rebounds, four assists) tallied 17 points for the Chargers, including a tie-breaking trifecta that kick-started an 18-8 run and gave them a 63-53 upper hand with 3:10 remaining. The Golden Knights – whose effort was fronted by Tyler Sayre (25 points, seven rebounds) and Pharroh Gordon (11 points, 5-7 FG) – came as close as six points down the stretch but New Haven canned six straight at the line to hold them at bay. Tommy Hunt (13 points), Josh Guddemi (10 points, seven rebounds, six assists) and Jemal Mosley (10 points) provided quality depth for the victors, who were more effective from long distance (7-19 to 4-16). Both teams were stellar from the stripe (UNH 16-17, CSR 12-14).


Rodney Sanders filled the stat sheet with 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals in guiding Southern New Hampshire past St. Michael’s at the SNHU Field House for its fifth straight conquest. Chris Walters chimed in with 14 points and eight boards for the Penmen, who grabbed the reins with an 11-0 uprising that broke a 51-51 tie and put them ahead 62-51 after two Sanders freebies with 7:54 to go. The Purple Knights – who were buoyed by Morrell Gaskins’ career bests of 28 points (9-11 FG) and 13 rebounds – remained in touch during crunch time, narrowing their arrears to 68-65 after a Gaskins foul shot with 1:17 on the clock. However, B.J. Cardarelli (11 points, seven caroms) snared two crucial O-boards that led to two more Sanders free throws with 11 seconds to play, ending all doubt. Greg Grippo drove home 17 points for St. Mike’s, which also placed Levi Holmes III in doubles with 13 points and six rebounds, but Matt Bonds was noticeably absent from the offense (zero points on woeful 0-11 shooting) despite coming through as usual on the glass with 11 rebounds and swatting away five SNHU shots. The Penmen were slightly outshot (40%-39%) and outrebounded (38-37) but turned it over less frequently (19-13) and accounted for 11 of the game’s 13 steals to help turn the tide.


Tyseem Lyles churned out 10 of his 16 points over the final 2:26 as resurgent Mercy rode a 13-3 game-closing flourish to victory over New York Institute of Technology in Dobbs Ferry, putting the Mavericks a game-and-a-half up in the battle for the sixth and final ECC playoff spot. The hosts trailed 60-53 before orchestrating the big finish, which began with triples on successive possessions by Lyles (seven rebounds, four assists), who had been 2-16 from the floor and 0-6 from beyond the arc prior to his timely awakening. Raphael Jennings – who gathered 10 points on the day – drained a key three with 1:03 left, putting the hosts in front 70-69 before Lyles concluded the rally with four straight freebies over the last 17 seconds, including the icing tosses with four seconds remaining. Five players reached double figures for Mercy, including Will Robinson (14 points, 12 rebounds), Jason Quijada (13 points off the bench) and Gerald McClease (10). Khalif Chaplin dropped 25 points (8-14 FG, 6-8 from deep) for the Bears, who spun off a 14-0 flurry spanning the halves that flipped a 34-25 deficit into a 39-34 lead that they nursed through the majority of the second period. Kieran Hamilton added a dozen points and Jerrel Green supplied 11 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks for NYIT, which lost despite outshooting the Mavericks (46%-35%) and making twice as many treys (10-23 to 5-19). The hosts atoned for those sins by furnishing the more efficient assist-turnover line (17/6 to 11/20), leading to a 20-10 doubling in turnover points. They also dominated the offensive boards (21-9), resulting in a 19-8 edge in second-chance scoring. Mercy’s nine wins are its most since the 2004-05 season and its sweep of NYIT was its first since 1997-98.


Dowling is now a game and a half back after losing a track meet to Roberts Wesleyan at the Voller Center. Tyrel Dixon was the star of this show, becoming the fourth regional player (and first forward) to parlay a triple-double on the season after accumulating 22 points, 15 rebounds and career-best 10 assists (he also had four steals). Six was the largest spread of the opening half, which ended in a 41-41 deadlock. But a 29-10 start to the second stanza, culminating in a Zack Panebianco lay-up with 12:06 to go, opened up a 70-51 cushion. The Golden Lions – who, as usual, were fueled by Chris Millender (31 points, career-high 23 rebounds) and Evan Maxwell (23 points, 9-13 FG, 2-2 from 3, seven boards) – stormed back, pulling within three points on three occasions down the stretch; the last occurrence at 80-77 after a Maxwell lay-up with 3:14 on the clock. That’s as close as the Golden Lions would get, however, as a Dixon free throw stanched the bleeding and sparked a 9-0 run that effectively ended all doubt at 89-77 with 1:04 showing. Panebianco – who hit for 19 points and handed out five assists – topped off the torrent with a 3-pointer and the Redhawks made 6-8 over the last 42 seconds to slam the door. Marcus Gooding (19 points, 5-7 from 3), Malik Dare (16 points, nine rebounds) and Mike Stone (14 points, five assists) rounded out the hosts' five starters in double figures. Both teams boasted outstanding assist-turnover ratios (RWC 21/7, DC 19/9), though Dowling hampered its chances with a 9-18 showing at the foul line. Dixon becomes the first Roberts player to record a triple-double in the NCAA era, and joins Holy Family’s Reggie Charles, Felician’s Jamal Reid and Adelphi’s Anthony Libroia in this year’s exclusive club.


Both CACC division leaders widened their leads with blowout home victories on Saturday. In Northeast Philadelphia, Holy Family pulled away from Post for its sixth straight victory and region-best 15th straight at home dating back to last season. Reggie Charles came alive with 16 points and seven assists, while reserve senior guard Marvin Crawford (seven rebounds, four assists) earned 11 of his 13 points after halftime, including a tiebreaking triple that ignited a 14-2 run and put the Tigers on top 45-33 with 12:37 to play. Eric Fleming was instrumental in the run as well, snapping off all nine of his points on a trio of trifectas as the hosts shot a sizzling 65% in the final frame (25% prior to the half). Tyler Desrosiers submitted 14 points for the Eagles, who were still hanging around at 49-42 after a three from David Seymour (12 points, nine rebounds) with 9:36 left. But a 14-4 jaunt, capped by a Crawford “And-1” fattened the advantage to 63-46 with 5:41 remaining, and the margin barely budged between 15 and 19 the rest of the way. Tamas Okros flirted with a triple-double as he tabulated 10 points, eight rebounds and personal-best seven assists for Post, which remains in second up North. Both teams were frigid from distance (HFU 8-29, PU 5-15).


North Division leader Bloomfield used a 22-3 barrage over the last seven minutes of the first half and a 20-2 blitz in the second to highlight a runaway victory over Georgian Court at the Deacon’s Den, improving to .500 for the first time all winter. Nick Davidson spearheaded the attack with 24 points (6-10 from deep), including long balls that bookended the latter run  fleshing out a 48-42 lead to 68-44 with 12:05 to go. The gap ranged between 21 and 33 thereafter as the Bears received contributions from multiple precincts, including Juan Brown (12 points on 4-6 shooting beyond the arc), Claude Blue (11 points, seven rebounds, four steals) and Safee Abdus-Sabur (10 points, 5-7 FG in a reserve role). Juwaun Carter (16 points, six boards) and Michael Pierre (13 points) were the top options for the Lions, who led 25-21 before Bloomfield’s first romp resulted in a 43-28 halftime advantage. The Bears did more damage at the line (15-23 to 7-8) and mastered the glass (46-33, including 16-6 offensive, leading to an 18-4 second-chance scoring edge). Their superior assist-turnover ratio (22/7 to 10/17) translated into a 27-11 boon in mistake points.


Paul Medlin had the hot hand with 20 points (7-10 FG) and 11 rebounds off the bench and Wilmington seized control with a 22-3 first-half onslaught, erasing a 16-6 deficit and eventually cruising past Nyack at Bowman Gym. A 17-7 start to the second half padded a 43-34 lead to 60-41 after a traditional 3-point play by Tyaire Ponzo-Meek (16 points, five assists), and the margin hovered between 13 and 19 over the final 17 minutes. Brian Adkins procured 17 points (6-8 FG, 4-4 from afar) and six assists for the Wildcats, who also landed Sam Sanders in twin figures with 15 points and eight rebounds in a reserve outing. Robert Tyler (14, 6), Jaron Smith (11 points) and Ga’Briel Chandler (10) topped the Warriors’ scorecard, but they were outshot from the floor (51%-36%). Nyack remains a half-game behind Concordia for the final playoff berth in the cluttered CACC North.