March 7, 2009

Courtesy of St. Lawrence Athletics

Senior captain and forward Richard Williams recorded a career-high 28 points and 15 rebounds for his fifth double-double this season, while senior Tom Wopperer, junior Josh Sharlow and rookie Terry Parham all scored in double-digits as the St. Lawrence University men's basketball team defeated SUNY Institute of Technology, 90-80, Saturday night in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament at Burkman Gymnasium in Canton, N.Y.

With the victory, St. Lawrence, who improves to 22-6, will advance to the Sectional Round, scheduled to begin next Friday night and will face Richard Stockton.  It will be the first time since the 1997-1998 campaign and the second time under Head Coach Chris Downs that the Saints will advance to the ‘Sweet 16’.

Williams (Kingston, NY) recorded 19 points in the first half alone and shot 12-for-16 from the floor and knocked in a couple of critical shots from behind the arc to pace the Saints to the win.  Wopperer (Manlius, NY/Fayetteville-Manlius) recorded 17 points and shot 70 percent from the field, while Sharlow turned in another impressive performance, recording 13 points, seven assists, and two steals.  Parham (Petersburg, VA/Indian River) led a strong group of first-year athletes coming off the bench as he and classmates Ralph Temgoua (Paris, France/Deerfield Academy) and Garrett Sharlow (Massena, NY/Massena) combined for 26 points.

The Scarlet and Brown came out onto the floor on all cylinders and made nearly every shot they took, including four buckets from three point land, in the first four minutes while earning the contest’s first double-digit lead, 21-10, over the Wildcats with a pair of free throws with just over 15 minutes to play in the first.  Behind 60 percent shooting from the field and a 19-point half from Williams, the Saints’ lead grew as large as 24 (44-20) with just 6:31 left in the frame. 

SUNYIT found much success in their full court press, however, in the remaining minutes of the half, as five of St. Lawrence’s ten turnovers of the period came in the ensuing minutes.  The Wildcats scored 12 points off the Saints’ miscues and slowly closed in on the home team as they enjoyed an 18-3 run down the stretch, led by Diloo Brown who recorded 12 of his 18 points in the last six minutes.  The run erased St. Lawrence’s double digit advantage as they came within nine with a chance to make it a two-possession game at the buzzer.  A big block from Temgoua halted SUNYIT’s hopes of doing so as the Scarlet and Brown ended the stanza with possession of the ball and a 47-38 edge over the visiting team.

The Wildcats continued their offensive tear as the second half opened, making it a two-point game, 48-46, with 18:10 remaining in regulation.  St. Lawrence escaped and continued to cling to an advantage on the scoreboard over their opponent, despite several attempts on the part of SUNYIT to take a lead.  The visiting team stayed within reach at all times in the second period and made it a four-point game, 73-69, with 5:35 to play, but the Saints were nowhere close to letting the game get out of hand.  Josh Sharlow made a critical steal and threw a half-court pass to Temgoua, who tucked it in to an awaiting Williams inside the paint for an easy shot off the glass to earn a 77-69 edge.  Sharlow then followed with a three before Temgoua knocked in another shot from underneath the board to give St. Lawrence an 82-69 lead with 2:28 to play that was too much to overcome, despite some last minute attempts by the Wildcats.

The Saints averaged 54.2 percent from the field and made 19 of their 23 free throws while containing SUNYIT to just 39.5 percent shooting, well under their season average.  Wildcat Diloo Brown had a game-high 33 points and made six three-pointers to aid SUNYIT’s offense.  The squad had two other players record numbers in double-digits, including Ajani Edwards (21) and David Golembiowski (18).