State men's basketball: Mount wins in NEC semis; UMBC advances, 69-62

St. Mary's beats Alvernia, 72-66, in D-III 2nd round

March 10, 2013|From Sun staff reports

Fifth-seeded Mount St. Mary's upset top-seeded Robert Morris, 69-60, in the Northeast Conference tournament semifinals Saturday. Junior Rashad Whack scored 26 points to pace the Mount, which advances to the NEC championship game Tuesday night at LIU-Brooklyn.

With the Mount leading 35-27 early in the second half, point guard Julian Norfleet went down with an ankle injury with 15 minutes, 22 seconds remaining. However, Mount St. Mary's responded with a 12-2 run to take control of the game. Sam Prescott started the spurt with a 3-pointer and Whack followed with a difficult 3-pointer from the right wing to stretch the margin to 42-29.

Prescott then scored on a fast break and made a free throw after being fouled, and Whack added a breakaway layup after a steal to push the advantage to 47-29 with 9:05 left in the game.

The Colonials (23-10) cut the Mount advantage to 49-36, but Whack made a 3-pointer and Kelvin Parker slammed home an alley-oop on a feed from Prescott to make it 54-36 with 5:49 remaining. A fade-away jumper from Parker stretched the advantage to 20 points before Robert Morris rallied.

Robert Morris used a 15-2 run to cut the Mount lead to 58-51 with 2:56 left. Anthony Myers-Pate and Lucky Jones had back-to-back 3-pointers and Mike McFadden a dunk to cap the run. The Mount missed on the next possession but forced a turnover, and Whack was fouled with 2:00 left. The junior guard made both free throws to push the lead back to nine.

UMBC 69, Hartford 62: Brian Neller hit two critical 3-pointers in the final four minutes, leading the sixth-seeded Retrievers (8-22) past the third-seeded Hawks (17-13) in the opening round of the America East Conference tournament at Albany's SEFCU Arena.

Ryan Cook led all scorers with 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting for UMBC, which will play second-seeded Vermont in today's semifinals.

Neller scored 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including 6-for-12 from 3-point range.

Nate Sikma and Mark Nwakamma combined for 30 points and 10 rebounds for Hartford (17-13, 10-6), which had won three games in a row and six of eight, including a 68-56 victory over the Retrievers on Feb. 28. Sikma scored 17 points, and Nwakamma had 13.

UMBC shot 54.5 percent from the field and made nine of 17 from 3-point range. The Hawks shot only 39.2 percent and made seven of 28 from beyond the arc.

Hartford reduced the deficit to one with 7:21 to play and to two with 1:28 remaining, but each time Neller delivered 3-point baskets to extend the Retrievers' lead.

St. Mary's 72, Alvernia 66: Kyle Wise (Calvert Hall) and Nick LaGuerre (Lansdowne) scored 18 and 16 points, respectively, to power the Seahawks (26-3) past the host Crusaders (24-5) in the NCAA Division III second round.

St. Mary's will makes its fourth Sweet 16 appearance when it hosts Morrisville State, a 66-61 winner over Rhode Island College, in Saturday's NCAA Division III sectional at 7 p.m.

Alvernia opened with a 17-6 run, but St. Mary's went on an 18-6 spurt for its first lead of the game with 4:48 left in the first half. The half ended 31-all.

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