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Home > Champ Week 2012 > Championship Week Day 3: Northeast Conference, Missouri Valley, America East Tournaments Begin Tonight

Championship Week Day 3: Northeast Conference, Missouri Valley, America East Tournaments Begin Tonight

Dave Johnson and the Quinnipiac Bobcats put their season on the line Thursday against Saint Francis (NY). (Photo: http://www.quinnipiacbobcats.com)

By: Kels Dayton

I’m not gonna lie. Tonight is  big for me. My school is playing for its 2012 NCAA Tournament life, and I don’t know how I’m going to handle it. Sure, this happens every year. But it just might be the most nerve-racking moment in sports. The conference tournament for a mid-major or low-major program is at once a beacon of hope and a cruel reminder of just how fragile opportunities can be in life. It means everything to these players, coaches and fans. It’s only Round 1, but win the entire season comes down to one game. Win it and you inch closer to that impossible dream of reaching the NCAAs…lose, and everything you’ve fought for since October  is done. Other than that, not much is riding on this game.

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NEC TOURNAMENT BRACKET

NEC TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND:

(5)  Quinnipiac 80 (4)  Saint Francis (NY) 72 F

Aggregated from Quinnipiacbobcats.com

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. – Senior James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) netted a game-high 22 points to become Quinnipiac’s Division I scoring leader on Thursday night, as the men’s basketball team went on the road and defeated St. Francis (N.Y.), 80-72, in the quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament. With the win, the Bobcats advance to take on LIU Brooklyn in the semifinals of the single-elimination playoff on Sunday evening.

QU's James Johnson became the leading scorer in the school's D-1 history in the Bobcats' 80-74 win over St. Francis. (Photo: courant.com)

Needing just 11 points to match Rob Monroe’s 1,685 point-total, Johnson surpassed the mark with a layup in the second half. The senior guard also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists in front of a packed house at the Pope Physical Education Center. Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) posted his 16th career double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) chimed in with 14 points, including three from behind the arc.

Meeting for the first time in postseason history, the Bobcats and Terriers exchanged baskets early on in the contest. However, with the score knotted at 20 apiece, QU’s offense exploded over the next five minutes of play. The Bobcats boasted a 17-3 run, which was sparked by a Hearst three-point field goal and capped off by a thunderous dunk from Garvey Young (Washington, D.C.). With all the momentum in its favor, Quinnipiac carried a 10-point, 41-31, advantage into the locker room at halftime.

After the break, SFC responded nicely to its double-digit deficit and quickly brought the crowd back into the game. Trailing by nine points with 16:22 showing on the clock, the Terriers put together a 12-3 run over the next five minutes of action. Stefan Perunicic concluded the spurt with a deep trifecta from the wing, cutting the Bobcat lead to just one point.

The next three minutes featured another run, this time from the visiting Bobcats. James Johnson sparked a 9-0 run to extend their lead back to double-figures, an advantage that they would not relinquish. Quinnipiac held off the STF pressure and made enough free-throws down the stretch to collect its ninth NEC Tournament win.

St. Francis (N.Y.) was looking for its third win of the season against the Bobcats after taking the first two meetings. Rebounding and turnovers proved to be the difference in those contests, two statistics that went in favor of the Bobcats this time around. QU committed just 11 turnovers and snatched a 48-36 edge on the glass, including 20 rebounds on the offensive end.

Young continued his stellar play off the bench with nine points and four rebounds on the night. Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) battled through foul trouble and scratched out eight points and four assists, while Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) chimed in with five crucial points during the Bobcats second-half surge. Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) returned to the lineup after being sidelined with an injured foot and made an immediate presence for the Bobcats. He scored five points, grabbed four rebounds, blocked two shots and was spectacular behind the ball.

St. Francis received four players in double-figures, led by Brent Jones’ 21 points. Ben Mockford finished with 17, Travis Nichols had 12 and Perunicic added 11.

Quinnipiac, now 18-12 overall, looks ahead to Sunday where it will once again face a team who has already defeated them twice on the year. LIU Brooklyn, one of three 20-win teams in the league, knocked off the No. 8 seed in Sacred Heart on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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(3)  Robert Morris 87  (6)  Monmouth 68 F

Associated Press

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. — Coron Williams scored 25 points, hitting eight 3-pointers, as Robert Morris defeated Monmouth (N.J.) 87-68 Thursday night In the quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference tournament.

The third-seeded Colonials (23-9), who are seeking a league-record eighth tournament championship, made 16 3-pointers, tying their school record set against Syracuse in the 2008 NIT. They will face Wagner in Sunday’s semifinals.

Williams was 3 of 6 from long range in the first half, 5 of 5 in the second. Velton Jones recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists, tying a career high, and Lucky Jones added 16 points.

After the sixth-seeded Hawks (12-20) overcame a 10-point deficit to lead 17-16, Robert Morris scored eight straight.

The Colonials led by 12 in the second half before Monmouth closed to 53-48 with 15:03 to go, but Robert Morris pulled away with a 15-2 run.

Ed Waite‘s 14 points led the Hawks.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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(2)  Wagner 87, (7)  Central Connecticut State 77  F
Associated Press

Stud forward Ken Horton's career with Central Connecticut likely came to an end Thursday night with a first-round loss to Wagner. (Jim Prisching/AP)

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NEW YORK — Kenneth Ortiz led five Wagner players in double figures with 16 points and the Seahawks defeated Central Connecticut State 87-77 in the quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference tournament on Thursday night.

The Seahawks (25-5) shot 50 percent from the field (30 of 60), helped by 44 points in the paint and 28 points off 19 turnovers.

Tyler Murray and Chris Martin added 15 points each and Jonathon Williams andMario Moody scored 10 apiece for Wagner, which avenged a 78-61 loss to CCSU in its previous game on Feb. 25.

Josh Thompson tallied four steals for the second-seeded Seahawks, who finished with 13.

Wagner, which snapped a three game skid in tourney play, will face Robert Morris in the semifinals on Sunday.

Ken Horton led the seventh-seeded Blue Devils (13-16) with 25 points. Kyle Vinales added 16 points and Robby Ptacek 10.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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(1)  Long Island-Brooklyn 80 (8)  Sacred Heart 68 F
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Associated Press

Junior guard Jamal Olasewere is a big reason the Blackbirds are No. 1 in the NEC. (Andrew Synoweiz/US Presswire)

NEW YORK — Jamal Olasewere led five players in double figures with 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds as LIU Brooklyn beat Sacred Heart 80-68 on Thursday night.

Julian Boyd had 16 points while Brandon Thompson and Michael Culpo chipped in with 11 apiece. Jason Brickman finished with 12 points and 13 assists for the Blackbirds, who advance to the Northeast Conference semifinals on Sunday against Quinnipiac.

LIU led by just one, 21-20, after Louis Montes converted a layup for Sacred Heart. But Culpo, Olasewere, and Boyd combined to score 14 unanswered and give the Blackbirds a 35-20 lead with 2:32 left in the first half.

Sacred Heart cut the deficit to 41-40 in the second half but Boyd rattled off five straight points to put LIU ahead for good.

Shane Gibson led Sacred Heart with 22 points, but the All-NEC First Team member had seven of the Pioneers 17 turnovers.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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BIG SOUTH TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS:

(7) Virginia Military 75, (6) Winthrop 55

Associated Press


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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — D.J. Covington scored 16 points and led Virginia Military Institute to a 75-55 win over Winthrop Thursday night in the Big South Conference semifinals.

The Keydets (17-15), who got a double-double from Stan Okoye (13 points, 10 rebounds), scored first and never trailed. VMI is the first seventh seed to reach the Big South championship game since 2005.

Covington didn’t miss a shot, going 6 for 6 from the floor and 4 for 4 at the foul line. He recorded four blocks.

For the Keydets, who split two regular-season games with sixth-seeded Winthrop (12-20), it was their third straight win, fifth in the last six games.

VMI was up 39-29 at halftime and 50-40 with 11:44 remaining before storming to its largest lead, 71-47, with 2:50 left. Ron Burks added 11 for the Keydets.

Winthrop’s Andre Jones and Reggie Middleton each scored 14 points, the only Eagles in double figures.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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(1)  UNC-Asheville 91, (4)  Charleston Southern 64

TOP-SEEDED UNC-ASHEVILLE ROLLS TO BIG SOUTH TITLE GAME

Charleston Southern Buccaneers
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Kelvin Martin, F 35 7-10 1-1 0-0 3 5 1 0 3 2 3 15
Paul Gombwer, F 25 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 5 0 0 0 0 4 2
Arlon Harper, G 21 3-11 1-6 0-0 2 3 2 1 0 4 4 7
Saah Nimley, G 31 6-12 4-7 4-5 0 2 4 0 0 4 3 20
Mathiang Muo, F 26 3-5 2-3 0-0 1 3 0 1 0 2 3 8
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Jeremy Sexton, G 23 0-5 0-4 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 3 3 0
Sheldon Strickland, G 18 2-9 2-6 0-0 1 2 1 0 0 2 2 6
Matt Kennedy, G 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mitchell Deter, G 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0
Chris Grier, G 9 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Thomas Odom, G 1 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Greg Dorleus, F 2 0-0 0-0 1-2 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1
Cedrick Bowen, F 5 0-0 0-0 1-2 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 1
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
23-56 11-28 7-11 10 28 12 3 4 18 23 64
41.1% 39.3% 63.6%

UNC-Asheville Bulldogs

STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Quinard Jackson, F 23 1-3 0-1 0-1 2 3 1 1 0 1 2 2
Jeremy Atkinson, F 33 4-7 0-1 11-11 2 8 2 2 0 1 0 19
Matt Dickey, G 20 4-7 2-4 0-0 1 2 2 0 0 2 4 10
Chris Stephenson, G-F 33 6-16 0-5 6-6 1 6 3 3 3 3 2 18
J.P. Primm, G 30 8-13 4-8 7-8 1 2 3 2 0 1 3 27
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Madison Davis, G 1 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Jeremy Harn, F-C 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jaron Lane, G-F 22 0-1 0-0 2-2 0 3 0 2 0 1 1 2
Josh Seligson, G 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Trent Meyer, G 19 2-3 1-1 0-0 1 3 1 1 0 0 1 5
Chudier Pal, C 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Keith Hornsby, G 9 2-3 0-0 2-2 2 3 0 0 0 0 1 6
Corey Littlejohn, G 2 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Jaleel Roberts, C 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
28-57 7-21 28-30 10 31 13 12 3 10 15 91


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MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE-FIRST ROUND

(8)  Indiana State 66 (9)  Southern Illinois 51

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DEFENDING VALLEY CHAMP INDIANA STATE SENDS REELING SALUKIS HOME

ST. LOUIS — Jake Odum had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Indiana State to a 66-51 win against Southern Illinois in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Thursday night.

Dwayne Lathan scored 15 points and Myles Walker 12 for the eighth-seeded Sycamores (18-13), who advanced to face top seed Wichita State in the quarterfinals on Friday. Indiana State is 4-0 in MVC tournament games under second-year coach Greg Lansing.

Mamadou Seck had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Kendall Brown-Surles 12 points for the No. 9-seeded Salukis (8-23).

Multiple times during the second half, Southern Illinois got within six points, only to see Indiana State pull away again.

A three-point play by the Salukis’ Justin Bocot made the score 54-49 with 3:02 remaining, but the Sycamores responded with two free throws by carl Richard and two baskets by Lathan to restore a double-digit lead. Seck’s layup made it 59-51 with 1:54 left, but that was Southern Illinois’ last gasp.

Bocot finished with 10 points.

Indiana State shot 50 percent (25 of 50) from the floor.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


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OHIO VALLEY-QUARTERFINALS

(4)   Tennessee Tech 77, (5)  Southeast Missouri State 73

Associated Press

TENNESSEE TECH EARNS DATE WITH NO. 10 MURRAY STATE IN SEMIS

Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy helped rally the Golden Eagles past SEMO State. (Wade Payne/AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kevin Murphy scored 24 points as Tennessee Tech built a big lead, then rallied for a 77-73 victory over Southeast Missouri State Thursday night in an Ohio Valley Conference tournament quarterfinal.

The Golden Eagles (19-12), who got 18 points from Jud Dillard, led 42-27 at halftime. But Southeast Missouri State (15-16) rallied behind Tyler Stone. He posted a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double for the Redhawks (15-16).

Nick Niemczyk and Corey Wilford scored 16 points apiece and helped key a second-half rally enabling Southeast Missouri State to tie it at 64-all. Down 55-36, the Redhawks rallied, then took a 70-66 lead on Stone’s jumper with 2:13 left.

But Murphy (10 for 20 from the field) stuck two jumpers and Zac Swansey a 3-pointer for a 73-70 lead. Zach Bailey made two foul shots and Swansey dunked with 0:03 left. Stone’s trey with a second remaining was too little, too late.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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