March 17, 2009

Courtesy of

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. - Down by as many as 18 points in the beginning of the second half, the second-ranked Pioneers pulled off a comeback for the record books, as they defeated the Bentley Falcons, 82-76, in the NCAA Men's Basketball East Region Championship game on Tuesday evening at the Pratt Recreation Center.

In front of a standing-room only capacity crowd, the Pioneers kept their record intact, improving to 30-0 on the season. The Falcons ended their season at 26-7.

Following the game, C.W. Post's Nick Carter (Huntington Station, N.Y.) was named tournament MVP, and teammates Jonathan Schmidt (Centereach, N.Y.) and Kenny Burkes (Suitland, Md.) also garnered spots on the All-Tournament team. Jason Westrol and Brian Tracey from Bentley were also named to the All-Tournament.

Bentley powered out of the gate in the first half, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and quickly pushing to a 12-2 lead at the 16:00 mark after two free throws by Mike Quinn.

The Falcons maintained their 10 point lead as Brian Tracey's trey gave them a 17-7 advantage at 13:12. The lead swelled to 14 points at 7:08 after a John Brandt layup put the Falcons up 31-17, and they went into the halftime break holding a 37-24 lead over the Pioneers.

Bentley pushed their advantage to 18 points after a Tracey layup at 19:26 (42-24), but the Pioneers slowly began to chip away, and four consecutive jumpers, two by Carter and two by Burkes pulled C.W. Post to a nine-point deficit, 44-35.

Lew Finnegan's jumper at 14:44 upped the Bentley lead back to 11 (48-37), but the Pioneers chipped away one again as Carter hit a three at 14:27 to pull CWP to single digits, 48-40. Burkes hit a jumper to pull within six, 48-42, but Finnegan put the Falcons right back up, 50-42.

Burkes converted a three-point play at 13:05 to pull the Pioneers within five, and Schmidt and Roberto Macklin (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) each hit two free throws to bring C.W. Post within a single point, 50-49.

The teams traded leads seven times from 11:37 in the second until the 6:34 mark, when the Pioneers took a one-point lead, 64-63 on a Burkes layup. A bucket by Macklin put the Pioneers up 66-63. A Westrol three tied the game at 66-66 with 4:29 remaining, but the Pioneers answered right back as Carter's jumper at 4:07 gave the Pioneer cagers a 68-66 advantage. A Macklin lay-in pushed the lead to four points, , and from that point on the Pioneers did not relinquish their lead. Bentley pulled to within two points with 53 seconds remaining, but Burkes hit 5-of-6 free throws and Schmidt hit two down the stretch to seal the win for the hosts.

Burkes led the Pioneers with 23 points, all scored in the second half, on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Carter had 21, 19 of them coming in the second half on 7-of-15 shooting, while also dishing out five assists. Schmidt scored 12 points and had four assists, and Macklin chipped in with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Pioneers shot a season-high 19-21 from the charity stripe, but a season low 5-of-24 from behind the arc. Bentley shot 12-37 from three-point range, including Westrol's 7-of-8 performance from downtown.

Westrol led all scorers with 28 points. Tracey added 19 pints, and Mike Quinn scored 14.

The Pioneers held a 29-28 advantage on the glass, and outscored the Falcons in the paint, 38-22. They also outscored the Falcons in points off turnovers, 22-16, and held a 12-4 advantage in fast-break points.

C.W. Post advances to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament, and will play Findlay in Springfield, Mass. Game time and date will be announced at a later date.