March 7, 2009

NCAA.com Staff Reports

Saturday saw both the Men’s and Women’s D-III Tournaments surge through their second rounds, setting up the matchups for next Friday’s Round of 16 and leaving a string of buzzer-beaters, upsets, blowouts and narrow escapes in their wake.

Of the 16 games on the men’s side, three featured matchups between two teams in the top-10. The top team in the country, St. Thomas, stayed undefeated, edging past Wis.-Stevens Point, 53-50. For the second night in a row, the country’s second-ranked team and defending national champ Washington-St. Louis snuck through with a close win, slipping past No. 8 Wis.-Whitewater, 73-70. But the last battle between top-10 teams might have been the best, with third-ranked Wheaton (Ill.) beating No. 5 Wis.-Platteville in overtime. In a matchup between top-25 teams, No. 7 Puget Sound knocked off No. 21 Whitworth, 84-72.

In the night’s biggest upset, unranked host Bridgewater State wrung every bit of life out of its home crowd, downing No. 9 Middlebury 78-76. Down the Eastern Seaboard in Bethlehem, Penn., host DeSales equaled the feat, sending home 12th-ranked Ithaca with a 77-71 win.

John Carroll, Capital and Salem State all notched two-point wins. The Blue Streaks advanced out of their region with a last-second 76-74 win over Carnegie Mellon, who found itself in the second round after a double-OT win over Brockport in Friday’s Opener. After escaping Thomas More in overtime on Friday, Capital faced a team just as tenacious in Wooster, but pulled off a 72-70 win over the upset-minded Fighting Scots thanks to D.J. Frazier’s bucket with one second left. Salem downed host Widener, 69-67, to move into a matchup in Friday’s Round of 16 with Franklin & Marshall, who downed Brandeis.

And finally, a night after registering the biggest upset of the first round – an 85-77 win over Elms – SUNYIT’s dream run was cut short after the first stanza, as St. Lawrence ended the Wildcats’ season with a 90-80 win.

Women

Friday’s most intriguing regional, a Bethlehem, Penn. court that saw host Moravian fall in the first round, didn’t lose a whole lot of luster in the second round, as No. 25 TCNJ up-ended No. 16 Tufts, 57-55. The Lions, winners of 22 of their last 23, advance to the Round of 16 for the second time in school history. In the other game in the region, Rochester tore into the sectionals with a 66-59 win over Kean.

The round saw three matchups of teams in the top-25, with top-ranked Illinois Wesleyan staying perfect on the season and earning its first trip to the sectionals with an 80-63 win over No. 9 Wis.-Eau Claire, No. 5 Oglethorpe cruise past No. 23 Greensboro, 67-40 and No. 7 Thomas More make its way into a sectional-round meeting with Hope after a 57-50 win over No. 15 Messiah.

There was a top-10 casualty, as No. 10 Wis.-Whitewater couldn't follow up its first-round win with another, falling to unranked St. Benedict, 67-59.

Elsewhere, Brandeis earned its first-ever ticket to the Round of 16 with a 79-52 drubbing of Mt. St. Mary (N.Y.). No. 18 Muhlenberg found a way past No. 21 Bowdoin, emerging with a 58-57 win to notch its first-ever trip to the Round of 16. And in New York, a late run sent NYU over Stevens, 71-57, and into a matchup with Amherst – 76-37 winners over Emmanuel.