MAHWAH, N.J. -- In the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship, Chris Cartwright sank a team leading 21 points and Jake Simmons netted 19, as the Bengals of Buffalo State, who won the SUNYAC Championship to earn a bid to the tournament, defeated the Griffins of Gwynedd Mercy, who earned a spot with an at-large bid, tonight at the Bradley Center.

The Bengals posted a 83-73 victory, after falling behind early in the opening half. The Bengals improve to 22-6 overall on the year while the Griffins wrap up the 2010-2011 season standing at 21-7.

Cartwright sank six field goals, including four three-point baskets, and Simmons went 6-of-17 with five three-point goals, as the team shot a combined 29-68 (42-percent) in the win. Glenroy Carr netted 15 points and Justin Mitchell and Ahmed Nagaya each added 11 on the night. Cartwright dished out five assists and Carr pulled down a team high ten boards. The Bengals pulled down 45 rebounds while Gwynedd Mercy grabbed 37. Jon Hogga and Dan DelConte led the Griffins with 18 points each while the team hit 27-62 (44-percent) in the loss. DelConte assisted on six baskets and Hogga grabbed three steals, while Hogga posted the double-double with a team leading 12 rebounds.

Mitchell quickly got the Bengals on the scoreboard with a dunk in the opening seconds of the game, before Frank Champion tied it up with a dunk of his own at the 18:44 minute mark. The score flipped flopped on two more occasions before Champion sparked a 14-3 run, capped off by jump shot from Jon Crabtree, to take a 32-20 lead with just over six minutes to play. It was that moment that the Bengals took control, and eventually took over the lead with a three-pointer from Simmons off a dish from Nico McLean to go up, 34-33. It was a 12-1 run to put Buffalo ahead for the third time in the half.

Heading into the locker room, Buffalo held a slim 37-36 lead over Gwynedd Mercy. Buffalo led by four with 46 seconds to play, but Dan DelConte cut it to one with a triple. Cartwright shot 4-11 from the field and drained three triples to lead Buffalo with 11 first half points. The team went 15-35 (43%) while out rebounding the Griffins, 26-17. Gwynedd Mercy hit a combined 14-33 (42%) from the field as Hogga went 4-9 netting a team leading ten points.

The Bengals continued to control the game and held the lead for the entire second half, after Mitchell opened with a two-point goal and Cartwright pushed the lead to six with three. Gwynedd Mercy came within two, 44-46, at 15:52 when DelConte threw up a lay-up, before Simmons and Carr banked back-to-back baskets to again go ahead by six with 13:40 to play. On two separate occasions, the Griffins came within one point, first at 6:15 when a 7-0 run, sparked by Brandon Sharp closed the gap to 61-62. With 4:59 to play, Sharp again hit a jumper to come within one, 63-64, but the Bengals responded with an 8-0 run of their own, capped off with a triple from Simmons, to spread their lead to nine points, 72-63 with 3:15 to play.

Buffalo spent the next three minutes working their way to a 13-point advantage, their biggest lead of the game, with just 20 seconds to play, 83-70. Brandyn Wims of Gwynedd Mercy drained his first three-point goal of the game with 13 seconds to play to come within ten, 73-83, which stood until the buzzer. Carr netted a team leading 11 points in the final half hitting 4-6 from the field, as his team combined shooting 14-33 (42-percent). The Griffins went 13-29 (45-percent) from the field as DelConte led the way with ten points.

With the victory, the Bengals advance to face the winner of Ramapo/Johnson & Wales Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Bradley Center.