Two North Atlantic Conference (NAC) men's basketball semifinal games were played on Friday, February 23, as top-seed New England College claimed a 71-56 win over No. 5 UMaine-Farmington, while No. 3 Colby-Sawyer earned an 89-76 upset victory over No. 2 Husson.
The Pilgrims and Chargers have now earned the right to play in the NAC Championship final, which will tipoff tomorrow, Saturday, February 24, at New England College at 2:00 p.m. If you plan to attend the championship game, please contact your institution for information on how to obtain advanced game tickets as sellout crowds are expected!
Please note that all tournament start times are subject to change.
The NAC Men's Basketball Champion will receive an automatic berth to the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.
2018 NAC MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
All start dates/times are subject to change
Championship • Saturday, February 24 (at New England College)
No. 3 Colby-Sawyer at No. 1 New England College - 2:00 p.m.
Game Recaps will be made available shortly!
No. 1 New England College 71, No. 5 UMaine-Farmington 56 - Boxscore
The top-seeded New England College Pilgrims downed the fifth-seed Beavers of the University of Maine-Farmington, 71-56, on Friday night in the North Atlantic Conference Semifinals to advance to its first NAC championship game in program history.
The Pilgrims also secured the program's first 20-win season and improve to 20-6. UMF sees its season come to a close at 14-13.
The Pilgrims were led by freshman Kareem Octavien (Cambridge, Mass.) with 17 points, including a 7-for-10 effort at the free-throw line. Junior Ricky Leonard (Windsor, Conn.) added 14 points, followed by sophomore Izaiah Winston-Brooks (Roxbury, Mass.) with a double-double of 13-points and 11 rebounds.
Junior Jason Jones (Roxbury, Mass.) brought down a game-high 14 rebounds—as a team, the Pilgrims outrebounded their guests 48-34.
The Beavers received a team-best 12 points from Eric Berry (Weld, Maine) followed by 11 points from Bill Ruby (Gorham, Maine). Amir Moss (Portland, Maine) added 10 points off the bench for UMF.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Pilgrims put forth a strong first half and more than doubled-up the Beavers in the scoring category. NEC held UMF to just 19 first-half points on a 31.0 percent shooting efficiency while exploding for 41 of their own points, shooting 15-for-23 (65.2 percent) from the floor.
The Pilgrims held the lead from early on but UMF hung with their hosts, not allowing them more than a six-point lead, for the first 10 minutes of the game.
With 11:39 remaining in the half, UMF used a layup by Ruby to come within three points, 15-12. It would prove to be the last basket for the Beavers for seven minutes and the Pilgrims took advantage of the drought by scoring 23-straight points for a 38-12 lead with 4:05 still to play. NEC carried the 41-19 advantage into halftime.
The Beavers held the Pilgrims to just four points over the first nine minutes of the second half while scoring 12 of their own points to cut the deficit to 45-31 with 12:31 still to play. Two minutes later UMF cut their deficit to 11 points, but it would prove to be the closest they would get for the remainder of the game.
NEC finished the game with an overall shooting percentage of 43.1 percent (25-58), while UMF finished at 35.6 percent (21-59). The Pilgrims held a 17-13 advantage in points off turnovers and a 14-7 edge in second-chance points. The Beavers outscored NEC 16-8 on the fast break.
The Pilgrims will play for their first NAC Championship title tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in Bridges Gym against #3 Colby-Sawyer, who defeated Husson 89-76 in the second semifinal of the night.
No. 3 Colby-Sawyer 89, No. 2 Husson 76 - Boxscore
Junior Jourdain Bell (Manchester, N.H.) scored game-high 40 points to lead the third-seeded Colby-Sawyer Chargers to an 89-76 win over second-seed Husson University on Friday night in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) semifinals.
The Chargers improve to 18-8 on the season, while Husson, the defending NAC champions, sees its season come to a close at 19-7.
Bell scored his 40 points on 14-for-23 shooting from the floor with seven three-pointers and a perfect 5-for-5 effort from the free-throw line. 25 of his 40 points came in the first half, where he was a perfect 7-for-7 from three-point range.
The Chargers also received 22 points from Patrick Coffey (Westford, Mass.) and 17 points from Dana Bean (Franklin, N.H.).
Colby-Sawyer held a 46-33 advantage in rebounds, led by Nate Trevino (Boerne, Texas) with a game-high 13.
The Eagles were paced by DJ Bussey (Peoria, Texas) with 16 points. NAC Player of the Year Raheem Anderson (Miramar, Fla.) chipped in with 15 points, while Justin Martin (Winslow, Maine) and Kyanti Blyden (Miramar, Fla.) both finished with 11 points each.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Colby-Sawyer controlled the scoreboard early on, as Bell was unstoppable from the three-point range. As a team, the Chargers hit 59.1 percent of their shots (19-for-32) and drained eight three-pointers to carry a 48-37 advantage into halftime.
The Eagles did better defending the arc in the second half and held Colby-Sawyer to just one second-half three-pointer. Husson would hold Colby-Sawyer scoreless for a four-minute stretch and used that opportunity to chip into the deficit.
An offensive spurt by Husson starting at the eight-minute mark helped them come within 10 points, 76-66, and a free-throw by Bruce St. Peter (Ellsworth, Maine) put the Eagles within nine points. Husson continued to chip away and came without four points, 78-74, on a three-pointer by Bussey with 3:05 still to play.
The clock was not on Husson's side though, and a jumper by Coffey made it a three-possession game, forcing the Eagles to foul for possession. The Chargers went to the line five times in the final 1:26 to seal the 89-76 victory.
The Chargers will face top-seeded New England College on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the NAC Championship at Bridges Gym in Henniker.
--Courtesy of New England College Sports Information