Albertus Magnus edges out 68-66 for first-round victory against WPI
PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Albertus Magnus will advance to the NCAA tournament second round after a 68-66 win against WPI on Friday night. The Falcons will play on Saturday and will take on the winner of the Purchase versus Hartwick match-up.
Eian Davis led the Falcons with 22 points and six assists as Albertus improved to 27-2 on the year with the victory. WPI finishes its season 22-5 overall. Friday was the first meeting between the two programs, excluding preseason scrimmages.
The Falcons, who played in their sixth NCAA tournament game, are now 3-3 in NCAA postseason play and have won three of its four all-time NCAA tournament first-round games.
Albertus began the game with a 4-0 run before two 3-pointers by Sam Longwell tied the contest at six 2:30 into the contest. WPI took a 10-6 lead on three consecutive buckets before the Falcons took back the lead on two consecutive 3-pointers by Darius Watson at the 15-minutes mark.
The Falcons extended their lead to 18-11 before the Falcons pushed out to a 10-point lead at 29-19 with 9:15 to go in the frame. WPI battled back, cutting the Falcons' lead to two at 29-27 with 6:43 on the clock and then tied the score on two free throws from Matt Harrington less than two minutes later.
WPI took a 34-29 lead thanks to a 15-0 run with 3:36 left before intermission. Lemar Larsen broke the shutout run with a jumper in the paint to cut the Engineers' lead to three at 34-31.
WPI led 36-34 at the break as Watson led all scorers with 14 points. He shot 5 of 9 from the field in the frame, including a 4 of 4 clip from behind the arc.
Out of the break, the Falcons pushed out to a 43-41 lead capped by a free throw from Eian Davis. Free throws extended the Falcons lead to 48-41 but a blocked shot on the defensive end followed by a fast break layup for the Engineers tied the contest at 48 with 10:41 to go.
Play went back-and-forth for the final 10 minutes of regulation. Davis gave Albertus a 59-58 lead with 3:49 left before a layup by him put the Falcons ahead by three. A Victor Ljuljdjuraj jumper in the paint gave Albertus a five-point lead with under a minute to go.
A pair of free throws by Watson with two seconds left on the clock sealed the victory for the Falcons to make it a two-possession game. WPI's Aaron Davis hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the score 68-66 but the Falcons walked away with the victory.
Watson, who led all scorers with his 14 first-half points, finished with 18 after just one field goal in the second half. He now has 2,119 career points and is 115 points away from Tim Russell (2001-05)'s career tally of 2,234 and 197 away from Ray Askew's career total of 2,316.
Ljuljdjuraj finished the night with a double-double as he tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds.