March 20, 2009

Courtesy of ODAC

SALEM, Va. --- In a contest that was tight throughout and featured 11 ties, the outcome was almost certain to come down to the final minutes of action.  Michael Farrow gave Richard Stockton College the lead for good with 0:49 to play as the Ospreys move on to their first NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Game with a 62-58 win over Franklin & Marshall College.


The Ospreys (30-2) advance to face defending national champion, Washington University in St. Louis, on Saturday afternoon.  The Bears defeated Guilford College, 77-58, in the first national semifinal, setting up their chance for a second straight D-III men’s crown.  That national title game is set for 3:00 p.m. in the Salem Civic Center.


Franklin & Marshall (26-6) will face Guilford in the national third place game.  That contest will also feature in the Salem Civic Center at 12:30 p.m.


“At the beginning of the second half, we missed our first seven foul shots,” explained Richard Stockton head coach Gerry Matthews.  “We had a chance to maybe break the game open a little bit, and we didn’t because of the foul shooting.  But I’ll tell you what, we didn’t shoot bad for our foul shooting in the last 30 seconds.”


Michael Farrow gave the Ospreys a chance to seal the game from the line.  With Franklin & Marshall holding possession and leading 57-56, the sophomore guard stepped into the passing lanes twice over the final minutes.  He intercepted a pass on each occasion, racing down the court for a pair of lay-ins, the final providing the go-ahead score with 0:49 to play.  Omar Smith sealed the win, hitting 3-of-4 foul shots down the stretch to keep the Diplomats at bay.


Smith tied for the game-high in points with 20 markers and seven rebounds.  Kai Massaquoi scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half as he added seven boards and three steals to the Ospreys’ score line.  Farrow finished with 11 points and another seven caroms.


Georgio Milligan led four Diplomats in scoring with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting.  Anthony Brooks and James McNally chipped in 13 points apiece with McNally adding 10 rebounds.  Mike Baker recorded the second double-double for F&M with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.


Neither team enjoyed a lead larger than eight points throughout the entire contest.  The first seven minutes of the game featured seven ties before F&M pulled ahead to a pair of seven point leads and an eight-point cushion at 24-16 with 4:54 to go in the half.  Massaquoi collected eight straight points for Stockton over the final minutes, including a pair of threes, to set up Colin Horsch’s jumper with 0:02 on the clock to send the teams into the half tied, 26-26.


The Ospreys opened up a small lead through the first few minutes of the second half before the scoreboard showed the game’s seventh tie at 38-38 with 11:40 to go.  The Diplomats went on their second run of the game, again enjoying an eight-point lead thanks to four points apiece from Milligan and McNally and a lay-up from Baker.  The stood at 52-44 for F&M with 6:17 to play.


Richard Stockton took the baton from F&M and sprinted to 10th level score of the contest at 52-52 with 5:05 showing on the clock.    Baker and Steve Tolliver put the Diplomats back up by four briefly as Jerome Hubbard connected on his only three-pointer of the game in 11 tries to bring the Ospreys within one with 2:35 to play, setting up the final sequence of the game.


“I did think with about four minutes to go, we were going to be able to pull it off tonight,” mentioned F&M head coach Glenn Robinson.  “But Stockton really rose to the occasion.  I think if we had another few minutes with another run we could have gotten back on top. But I’m very proud of them and I’m also congratulatory towards Stockton.”