NYU wins NCAA tournament opener
Violets use big second half to pull away from Misericordia
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Playing its first NCAA tournament game in 14 years, NYU dominated the second half en route to a 84-65 victory against visiting Misericordia on Thursday night at the Coles Sports Center.
The host Violets (21-5) shot a scorching 67.9 percent (19-28) in the second half, outscoring the Cougars (21-7) 48-28 to take over a game that was back-and-forth in the first half.
“We were more patient finding openings in the second half,” Violet head coach Joe Nesci said of the team's dominating performance in the period. “That led to high-quality shots on the perimeter and inside.”
“They established the post in the first four or five minutes of the second half,” Misericordia head coach Trevor Woodruff noted. “They did a good job of doing what they needed to do.”
Led by Carl Yaffe's 14 second-half points, NYU turned a tight game into a runaway in the final 13 minutes. Joe Busacca hit two free throws for the Cougars -- who made their first 15 attempts at the line -- to cut the Violets' lead to 48-46 with 13:16 to play before NYU took over, using a 10-0 run to take control.
Yaffe started the spurt with a layup, and Devin Karch followed with a three-point play inside. Kyle Stockmal then drained a three-pointer and Karch found Max Wein for a layup, quickly putting the Violets up 58-46.
Two more Misericorida free throws, this time from Ethan Eichhorst, got the Cougars as close as eight with 7:14 remaining before NYU pulled away. Wein hit a 3-pointer and made a layup to start a 12-2 spurt. Yaffe capped the big run with a block on defense and a layup on the other end, effectively ending the game by giving the Violets an 18-point lead with 3:54 to go.
“I'm an emotional player,” Yaffe said. “I tried to stay within myself and just take the opportunities that I had.”
Yaffe, as well as Andy Stein, had fewer opportunities in the first half while plagued with foul trouble. NYU got a big lift from its bench players, Ben Dorman and Karch, who helped keep the contest tight in a first half that featured seven lead changes and five ties.
|NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND|
|NYU 84, Misericordia 65|
|St. Mary's (Md.) 69, Bethany (W.Va.) 57|
Dorman's first of two triples in the half gave the Violets their biggest lead of the period 22-16 with 9:05 left. After Misericordia tied it at 27-27, Dorman hit a trey and made a layup to put NYU back up five with 2:02 to go. But the Cougars ended the half on 10-4 run, with Cael Evans hitting a putback just before the buzzer to send them into the break leading 37-36.
The beginning of the second half was just as tight before Yaffe and the Violets took over. Yaffe finished with 21 points on 9-12 shooting while also doling out six assists. Stein added 14 points on 7-10 from the floor. Karch scored 12 points off the bench with just one miss from the field (5-6), while Dorman and Stockmal each netted 10 points.
Eichhorst led Misericordia, which was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance, with 22 points and seven rebounds. Busacca scored 17 points, 10 of which came at the line, while Matt Greene recorded nine points, six assists and three steals.