Western Conn. St. tops Salve Regina
Colonial advance to NCAA second round with 89-67 win
DANBURY, Conn. -- Western Connecticut State, behind DaQuan Brooks' 27 points, defeated Salve Regina 89-67 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball tournament at Feldman Arena on Thursday night.
The Colonial, 22-5, advance to play at second-ranked Middlebury on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Panthers, currently 25-1, are ranked second in the latest D3Hoops.com poll. Western Connecticut State, the Little East Conference regular-season co-champions, is ranked 23rd in the same poll.
This is the seventh time the Colonial have advanced to at least second round in its 11th NCAA Tournament appearances. They made it as far as the Elite Eight in 1990 before falling to Washington College in overtime 107-103.
Brooks, the Little East Conference two-time Player of the Year, scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the first half as WestConn raced out to a 51-37 advantage at intermission. He buried 11 of 21 shots from the floor including four of 11 from beyond the three-point arc.
Senior Wilburt Jarrett and John Phillips added 19 and 17 points, respectively for the winners. Junior Mark Redding pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds and Phillips gathered 10 caroms for the winners.
Salve Regina, the Commonwealth Coast Conference Champions, end the season at 17-11.
It was led by Dan Royce who poured in 16 points. Point guard Ryan Birrell led the Seahawks with seven assists and 10 rebounds.
WestConn never trailed in the contest and held a double-digit advantage from the 11:55 mark of the first half until the final buzzer.
Much of the Colonials' success was due to four of Salve Regina's post players saddled with foul trouble. Joshua Fuhrmeister was whistled for three fouls while Royce, Jeff Bielefeld and Scott St. Lawrence each had two personals called on them before the recess.
WestConn's biggest lead of the game was 24 points, 69-45 following a jumper by Jarrett with 11:45 remaining in the game. It's lead would not get below 16 points the rest of the way.