Ephs set to host NCAA Sectional this weekend

Blake Schultz '10
Blake Schultz '10


2010 NCAA Division III

Men's Basketball Championship

   Williamstown Sectional

Friday, March 12


Saturday, March 13, 2010


Friday's Schedule

6 P.M.
Brandeis  76, Rhode Island College 65


8 P.M.

Williams 104, SUNYIT 70


Saturday's Schedule

Williams 71, Brandeis 57

(Williams advances to the national semifinals in Salem, VA, March 19)


WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams College has been selected by the NCAA Tournament committee to host one of four sectionals of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament this weekend.

In the first sectional semifinal, Brandeis (22-7) will tip-off against Rhode Island College (22-7) at 6 p.m. At 8 p.m., SUNYIT (26-4) battles the host Ephs (27-1). Friday’s winners will meet at 7:00 PM on Saturday for the right to advance to the national semifinals, slated for Salem, Va., March 19.

Ticket prices each day:  $7 Adults, $4 Students/Seniors/Children Over 2.

Brandeis (21-6)

This is the Judges’ fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 8th overall. Brandeis is now 13-7 all-time in the NCAA tournament, including 7-3 under head coach Brian Meehan. A trip to the Elite Eight would be the team’s fourth in school history, joining the squads from 1975, 1978 and 2007.

This season, the Judges were ranked as high as eighth nationally. The Class of 2010’s 82 wins make them the first in school history to have averaged 20 victories per season over the course of their careers.

The Judges reached this point with a pair of convincing wins over St. Lawrence University and St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. Brandeis never trailed in the second half of either contest, getting a career performance from one player in each contest. In a 76-64 win over the Saints of St. Lawrence, sophomore guard Vytas Kriskus was the story, scoring 19 of his career-high 29 points in the first half. Kriskus, who is averaging 23 points  per game in just 28 minutes as a reserve, was nearly perfect in the first 20 minutes, hitting 6-of-7 overall, 4-of-5 from 3-point range and all three free throws. Along with senior Kenny Small, who hit all four of his trifecta attempts, the Judges matched a season-high in 3-point percentage, connecting on 11-of-18 (61.1%), while their overall 56.6% (30-53) was their third-highest performance of the season.

The next night, it was senior Terrell Hollins’ turn to shine in a 66-52 victory over regional host St. John Fisher. Hollins turned in his 13th double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds in the first half, finishing with 16 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, leapfrogging him from 10th to seventh on the Judges’ all-time rebounding list with 677 boards.

Kriskus was the game-high scorer with 17 points, while Small added 14. Together, the duo of sharpshooters connected on 73.9% of their 3-pointers in the regional (17-23) as the Judges shot 57.6% as a team from deep (19-33). Senior Andre Roberson reached double figures as well with 11 points, including the 1,000th of his career on an early trifecta.

Both Hollins and Small were named First Team All-UAA this season.

Rhode Island College (22-7)

This is the 7th NCAA Tournament appearance for the Anchormen, and the fourth in five years under head coach Bob Walsh. RIC won the Little East regular season championship and the tournament title. 

The Anchormen boast a pair of first-team All-LEC selections in senior guard Jake Grimes and sophomore forward Mason Choice, who combine for 28.7 points per game. RIC also went on the road for its tournament victories last weekend, defeating Rutgers-Newark in the opening round, 72-60, and regional host Middlebury College, 75-59, in the second round. Against Rugters-Newark, Grimes and junior guard Antone Gray each scored 19 points to lead the way, including 11 and 12 points, respectively, in the second half. They combined to hit 11-of-19 from the floor and 13-of-15 from the free throw line. Choice (12 points) and junior forward Darius Debnam (11 points) also reached double digits, while sophomore forward Mike Akinrola had nine rebounds. With the game tied at 51-51 and just over nine minues left, RIC exploded for a 16-3 run to put the game away, with Gray and Choice each scoring six points.

Against Middlebury, the Anchormen extended their winning streak to nine games as they never trailed in the contest. RIC scored 11 of the game’s first 12 points and hit 6-of-11 from downtown en route to a 37-22 lead at the break. They advanced to their second Sweet 16 in four years. Junior Carl Lee had 15 points to lead the visitors, while classmate Nick Manson added 11 points on the strength of three 3-pointers.

Brandeis and RIC have three common opponents this season. Both squads defeated NEWMAC champion Clark University. The Judges defeated Amherst College, 71-55, on Feb, 9, while Rhode Island College fell to the Lord Jeffs, 105-84, a week earlier on Feb. 2. Brandeis’s only non-conference loss came at the hands of the LEC’s Umass-Dartmouth, 92-82, a team that the Anchormen defeated twice and lost to once. 

This is the eighth meeting between Brandeis and RIC, with the Judges trailing the all-time series, 5-2. The teams have split NCAA showdowns. Brandeis won in 1975, 94-84, in the first NCAA Division III tournament. In 2007, in the rookie season for the Class of 2010, RIC took a 70-67 decision.

SUNYIT (26-4)

The SUNYIT Wildcats are making their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and are currently a program-best 26-4. The Wildcats have won 18 straight games. They earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning their second straight North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship with a 99-71 win over Wells College.

SUNYIT advanced to this year’s Sweet 16 with a 71-65 win over Plattsburgh State in round one and a 64-63 victory over Medaille College in round two. Both games were played in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

The Wildcats are led by junior David Golembiowski, who leads the team in points (21.4), rebounds (10.4) and free throw percentage (.810) while currently ranking seventh in the nation in blocks per game (3.1).  Golembiowski, the NEAC Player of the Year and an All-Conference First Team selection for the second straight season, is currently the program’s all-time leader in both career rebounds and blocks, while being the school’s second all-time leading scorer.

Senior Diloo Brown, who was named the NEAC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, has also had a sensational season, leading the team in assists (5.0) and steals (2.1) per game while being second on the team in points (17.4), rebounds (6.8) and hitting a team-high 86 three-pointers.  The 6-foot guard was named to the NEAC All-Conference First Team selection for the second season in a row and currently ranks fifth in program history in career points and assists, fourth all-time in both steals and three-pointers made and third in both free throws made and attempted.

Rounding out the Wildcats top performers is senior Floyd Fitzpatrick Thorne, who is averaging 11.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field; senior Aaron Swancott, who is registering 7.4 points and 1.2 steals per game, and junior Kevin Cappiello, who is posting 9.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc.  Junior Ricky Charles is the team’s top reserve, shooting a team-best 51 percent from the field, while averaging 6.7 points and 3.1 boards in 15 minutes.

Williams College (27-1)

Williams is making its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance and has an-time record of 27-9 in tournament play. The Ephs won a national championship in 2003, were national finalists in 2004 and placed third in both 1997 and 1998.

Williams won its fourth NESCAC Tournament title with a 64-56 win over Middlebury on Feb. 28. Senior Blake Schultz was named the NESCAC Player of the Year and earlier this week was named the winner of the prestigious Jostens Trophy for 2010. The national award recognizes playing ability, scholarship and community service.

Williams has tied the school record for most consecutive in-season wins at 18, and has won 27 or more games in a single season for the third time in program history.

Both Schultz and sophomore point guard James Wang were chosen First Team All-NESCAC, while junior center Troy Whittington was a Second Team All-NESCAC choice. Schultz paces the Ephs with 18.4 points per game, and led the conference with 20.9 ppg. in NESCAC only games. He also is tops on the team with 46 steals and is shooting 52.4 percent (66 of 126) from the three-point arc. Wang is second behind Schultz at 17.6 ppg., and paces the Ephs with 129 assists. Wang is shooting 50.4 percent (95 of 111) from the arc, and 57.2 percent (163 of 285) from the floor overall.

Whittington is averaging 10.6 ppg. and 5.9 rebounds per game in just over 17 minutes per game this season. He is shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor (123 of 177) and has 67 blocks.

Williams is leading the nation in 3-point shooting, knocking down treys at a 45.2 percent rate (272 of 602).

Other starters for the Ephs include senior center Joe Geoghegan, who leads the team with 8.4 rebounds per contest and contributes 7.4 ppg. He is shooting 52.9 percent (73 of 138) from the floor. Senior Alex Rubin is averaging 9 points per game, has 39 assists and is shooting 45 percent (57 of 127) from beyond the arc.

Junior swingman Harlan Dodson averages 6.6 ppg. and shoots 41 percent (46 of 113) from the three-point line. Some of the Ephs key reserves are senior forwards William Hardy and Ethan Timmins-Schiffman, and first-year guard Nate Roberton, who is second on the team with 74 assists.

The Ephs got here by defeating UMaine-Farmington 83-64 in a second round contest after receiving one of the tournament's three first round byes. Schultz (23), Wang (22) and Rubin (21) combined to score 66 of the Ephs’ 83 points in the win.

(Information supplied by SIDs at Brandeis (Adam Levin), RIC (Scott Gibbons) and SUNYIT (Eugenio Mercurio)