Crimson feel agony of defeat
Notes: Bloomfield makes DII Round of 16 for first time
Perhaps there was a blanket of disappointment cast over Harvard this weekend when it lost in gut-wrenching fashion to Princeton in a one-game Ivy League playoff. Doug Davis drilled a fall-away jumper as the buzzer went off for a 63-62 win to rip an NCAA tournament bid right out of the Crimson’s hands.
Yet, while it would have been nice if the Crimson could have secured its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1946 the team has no reason to hang its head. It earned a share of the league title, won a school-record 23 games and will play in the NIT Tuesday against Oklahoma State.
“Our first Ivy League title is an incredible thing for our school and community,” head coach Tommy Amaker said. “We are incredibly proud to represent all of them in this tremendous achievement.”
Teamwork has set the stage for the remarkable season. Harvard averages nearly 14.3 assists per game and five players are clicking for 10 or more points per game. Keith Wright is the top scorer, clicking for 14.9 points per game. Wright scored 16 in the loss to Princeton Saturday.
“We preach unselfishness and have illustrated that at times this season by making the extra passes, letting the ball find the shot, those types of things,” Amaker said.
No matter what happens in the postseason, a bright future appears to be ahead for the Crimson.
“We are incredibly young,” Amaker said. “We have excellent leadership in co-captains Oliver McNally and Keith Wright. They have helped our team grow its character and poise. So just learning from each other, sacrificing personal gains for the greater good of the team and growing together throughout the year has been incredibly gratifying to see.”
Need To Know
• Wooster was once the No. 1 Division III team in the nation, and there is a chance it will be No. 1 at the end. The fifth-ranked Scots overcame three eight-point deficits in the first half against Whitworth and secured a 76-66 home win against the top-ranked team in the country Saturday in a sectional final at Timken Gymnasium.
Ian Franks paved the way, scoring 19 points, and a stellar defensive effort slowed down one of the nation’s top shooting teams as the Pirates were held to 40.4 percent shooting. Whitworth came in shooting nearly 50 percent (49.5) from the field.
Wooster heads to Virginia with the most wins in school history (30), and this will mark the third time in nine years it is playing in the final four. Its national semifinal showdown against No. 4 Williams on Friday night at the Salem Civic Center will be a rematch of its 2003 trip when it lost 74-72 in overtime on a tip-in at the buzzer.
• Bloomfield has never played in a Round of 16 prior to this season. The Deacons will get an opportunity to do it for the first time after knocking off Stonehill 79-66 in an East Region semifinal on Sunday night.
Gage Daye torched the Skyhawks for 31 points as the seventh-seeded Deacons overcame a 33-30 halftime deficit to pull off another stunning victory in the NCAA Division II tournament.
Kevin Udo wasn’t bad either, especially for being only a freshman. The rookie forward wasn’t rattled on the big stage and scored 14 points, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked three shots as Bloomfield took care of business and earned a shot at defending East Region champion Bentley on Tuesday night.
• Richmond has already won a school-record 27 games, and now the Spiders can add first Atlantic-10 championship to its resume after beating Dayton 67-54 on Sunday afternoon in Atlantic City.
Kevin Anderson was phenomenal in the win. He clicked for 23 points, his third consecutive 20-point game, and became the first Richmond player to win Most Outstanding Player honors.
The Spiders will be making their ninth appearance in the NCAA tourney, opening play against Vanderbilt in Denver on Thursday. Justin Harper helped make that trip possible by scoring 18 points, his 27th consecutive double figure game, as he earned a spot on the all tournament team.
• George Johnson scored the most points ever by an Augusta State player in an NCAA tournament game, dropping in 31 as the top-seeded Jaguars rolled past Queens (N.C.) 71-60 in a Southeast Regional semifinal at the Christenberry Fieldhouse Sunday night. ASU rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit and is one win away from its fourth consecutive trip to the Elite Eight.
• Andrew Locke blocked six shots to go along with 13 points and nine rebounds as Middlebury earned a 65-50 DIII sectional final win against No. 13 St. Mary’s (Md.) Saturday night at the Louis Alexander Palestra in Rochester N.Y. The No. 2 Panthers secured their first trip to the DIII final four.
• John Holland hit two free throws with 2.4 seconds left and lifted Boston University to a 56-54 win against Stony Brook in the American East tournament championship game. Holland scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half and also pulled down 11 rebounds as the Terriers won their first championship since 2002. Holland received the Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player award. The reward for the win is a date with Kansas on Friday in Tulsa.
• Terry Nicolai torched Augustana for 28 points and propelled St. Thomas (Minn.) to its first final four since 1994 as the eighth-ranked Tommies blasted the No. 7 Vikings 72-56 in a sectional final at the Carver Center in Rock Island, Ill.
• Stillman shot a sizzling 60.7 percent from the field in the second half and overcame a 51-38 halftime deficit to stun Florida Southern 92-86 in the semifinal round of the South Regional. Lajay Sears poured in 30 points for the seventh-seeded Tigers, who are one of six teams seeded sixth or seventh that will play for a regional title on Tuesday.
• San Diego State avenged its only two losses of the year with a 72-54 win over BYU in the Mountain West Conference tournament championship game in Las Vegas. Billy White came up with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Kawhi Leonard dropped in 20 as the Aztecs grabbed a 43-31 lead at halftime and put the game away with a 17-6 run over the first 10 minutes of the second half.
• Williams College will have a shot at a second national championship after drilling eight treys, including five by James Klemm, in a 77-71 win at home against Amherst in a sectional final at Chandler Gymnasium. Klemm finished with 17 points and moved the Ephs a step closer to their first national title since 2003.
• Belmont, the first team to 30 wins in DI basketball, got 23 points and nine rebounds from Mick Hedgepeth as it won its fourth Atlantic Sun tournament championship in six seasons with an 87-46 victory against North Florida last week. The Bruins are the 14th school from a non-BCS conference to win 30 games since 1996-97 and will battle Wisconsin in the opening round of the NCAA tourney on Thursday in Arizona.