Ephs set to host NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Rounds

Ephs set to host NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Rounds

2011 NCAA Div. III Tournament

Men's Basketball Sectionals

Third and Fourth Rounds

Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12



Friday's Third Round Schedule

5:30 P.M.

Amherst 78, RIC 74


7:30 P.M.

Williams 79, Virginia Wesleyan 73


Saturday's Quarterfinal Schedule

7 P.M.

Williams 77, Amherst 71



WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams College (27-2) will host the Third and Fourth rounds of the 2011 NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Tournament Friday, March 11 and Saturday, Match 12, in the Chandler Gymnasium.

Fans wishing to purchase tickets in advance should enter the Lasell Gym lobby through the Spring Street entrance.

Friday ticket sales will run from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Any remaining tickets will go on sale Friday at Chandler Gym at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Friday night at halftime of the second game, and at the conclusion of the second game, tickets for Saturday's Sectional Final will be sold in Chandler Gym lobby.

Ticket Prices: 

Adults:  $7; Students and Children:  $4.

All three games this weekend will be webcast. Click HERE to watch.

Williams College Ephs (27-2) vs. Virginia Wesleyan Marlins (25-4)

Virginia Wesleyan College (25-4) owns a strong men's basketball tradition, having been crowned national champions in 2006 before returning to the title game in 2007, when they suffered an 80-67 loss to Amherst.

Virginia Wesleyan is making its seventh consecutive tournament appearance and 11th overall, posting a 14-11 mark since its first run in 1978.

The Marlins used double-doubles from Chris Astorga and Rakeem Davis and 21 points from Donald Vaughn to cruise past Delaware Valley in the opening round, 93-63, but they had to play catch-up to escape the following day. Trailing Franklin & Marshall by seven at halftime (40-33) and by nine with 10 minutes to play (60-51), Virginia Wesleyan finally took the lead when Vaughn hit a jumper with 3:19 to go as part of an 8-0 run that sealed the deal.

ODAC Freshman of the Year D.J. Woodmore paces the Marlins' balanced scoring attack by averaging 13.8 points per game. Astorga (12.2), Chris Teasley (11.7) and Vaughn (11.5) all average in double figures. Vaughn is the top rebounder with 7.4 per game. Tre' Ford leads the team with 103 assists and 55 steals.

Vaughn and Woodmore were selected All-ODAC Second team and Teasley All-ODAC Honorable Mention.

Williams College (27-2) is making its 12th appearance in the NCAA Div. III Tournament. The Ephs have advanced to the Final Four five times in their previous 11 appearances, and advanced to the national title game one year ago. Williams appeared in back-to-back national championship games in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, winning the title in 2003.

In 3 years under head coach Mike Maker, the Ephs have won 74 games and lost 13 (.851 win percentage), won two outright Little 3 titles and tied for the other championship, won one NESCAC Championship and earned two NCAA Tournament appearances.

Williams opened the tourney with a thrilling 86-83 overtime win over Husson University in a first round game. James Wang scored 30 points, while Klemm (12), Troy Whittington (11), Taylor Epley (10) and Hayden Rooke-Ley (10) all reached double-figures.

The Ephs defeated Becker the next night, 84-63, as Wang and Rooke-Ley each scored 20 points and Klemm added 14. Williams shot 50 percent from the floor in the win.

Senior center Whittington (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was named the NESCAC Player of the Year last week after averaging 17.2 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game this season. He has recorded 11 double-doubles in 25 games this season. His 73 percent field goal percentage leads the country.

Junior guard Wang (Sydney, Aus.) was selected First Team All-NESCAC for the second year in a row. Wang leads the Ephs with 18.8 points per game and has scored 544 points this eason thus recording the 14th season of 500 or more points by an Eph. He is just the second player to do it twice. Michael Nogelo '98 scored 500 or more points three times and owns the Ephs single-season record with 634.

Amherst College (24-3) vs. Rhode Island College (21-7)

The Anchormen received an automatic bid into the 2011 NCAA Div. III Tournament after defeating third-seeded Eastern Connecticut, 62-49, in the Championship Game of the 2011 Little East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 26. RIC advanced to the Williams Sectional via a first round, 83-54, win over Penn State Behrend last Friday and a subsequent, 71-63, win over host Oswego State last Saturday.

For the second consecutive year, and fourth time in the last five years, the Anchormen entered the tournament via the automatic qualifier bestowed upon the tournament champions of the Little East Conference.

On Jan. 29, the Anchormen began a remarkable ascent through the conference standings and regional rankings by winning six straight games, all in conference, to claim a share of the 2011 Little East Conference Regular Season Championship-the program's fifth in the last seven years. 

The streak was highlighted by an emphatic, 86-75, win on the road at Western Connecticut on Feb. 8 which set the stage for the Anchormen's late run. RIC was the top seed, which allowed the Anchormen to host the semifinals and finals of the LEC Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons. In the Feb. 25 semifinal, The Murray Center served as the stage for one of the greatest games in the 25-year history of the Little East Conference: a 102-92 RIC win in double overtime over longtime rival Keene State.

Both regulation and the first overtime ended with the trailing team (Keene in regulation, RIC in overtime) intentionally missing a free throw and promptly landing a game-tying shot off the rebound to force an extra session. Junior center Mike Akinrola highlighted "The Murray Center Miracle" with an off-balance, game-tying, buzzer-beating three- pointer to send the game to a second extra session. RIC dominated the Owls, outscoring them, 10-0, over the final five minutes to advance to the finals.

Akinrola paces the Anchormen with a 14.3 points per game average, while Antone Gray (12.9), Mason Choice (11.9) and Carl Lee (10.8) all averge double figure scoring. Choice is the team's top rebounder at 5.6 per game, while Gray leads with 113 assists.

Amherst (24-3) entered the national tournament with only one win in its last four chances, but the Lord Jeffs put the disappointing stretch behind them by earning a 79-39 win over Skidmore College in the opening round, marking the largest margin of victory in the bracket. The Thoroughbreds held a 7-2 lead after six minutes, but the Jeffs kicked it into high gear and quickly took control with a 24-4 run that proved to be the difference maker.

 After recording a double-double against Skidmore, Conor Meehan '11 continued to impress with 20 points and 10 assists in a 92-70 win over WPI the following night. In his past three NCAA Tournament games the senior co-captain is averaging 17.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists, as he now ranks third among all-time assist leaders in school history and is only 20 points shy of becoming the program's 24th player to score 1,000 points.
He leads the Jeffs with a 13.5 points per game average and 104 assists. Aaron Toomey (12.3), Taylor Barrise (11.4), Willy Workman (10.9) and Peter Kaasila (10) all average in double-figure scoring. Jeff Holmes' 5.6 rebounds per game leads the team, followed closely by Workman (5.3). Toomey has 39 steals.

Amherst had to cancel its scheduled Feb. 1 meeting with Rhode Island College due to inclement weather, but fans will finally be treated to a make-up game. The teams have split their past two meetings, including a 105-84 result that went Amherst's way last year thanks to 23 points from Jeff Holmes '12.

The Lord Jeffs and Anchormen have met only once in the NCAA Tournament, an 81-69 Amherst win in the 2007 quarterfinals, which led to the program's first national title.

James Wang:  From Distance
February 3, 2011 James Wang: From Distance