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basketball-men-d3 flag | February 16, 2014

Wash. (Mo.) punches ticket to NCAA tourney

NEW YORK -- Washington (Mo.) secured its third-straight University Athletic Association (UAA) title and gained an automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship with a 79-75 win at New York University on Sunday afternoon.

The UAA Championship for Washington U. is the Bears’ fifth in the past six seasons and 13th in school history. Washington University is the first team in conference history to win three consecutive conference crowns. The win also gave head coach Mark Edwards the 15th 20-win season of his career.

Washington U. shot 52.7 percent (29-for-55) from the field in the game, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range, while NYU finished shooting 42.6 percent (29-for-68) and 5 of 21 from beyond the arc. The Bears converted 15 of 23 free-throw attempts, while the Violets were 12 of 22 at the charity stripe. Washington U. also finished with a 40-36 rebounding advantage. NYU pulled down 14 offensive rebounds to gain a 19-3 advantage in second-chance points, and also outscored the Bears 17-6 in points off turnovers.

Alan Aboona scored a game-high 29 points, including 19 in the second half. He was 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and also finished with five rebounds and five assists. Chris Klimek finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, including five points in the final 8:39 while playing with four fouls. Tim Cooney also got into double figures for the Bears with 10 points, three assists and a team-high three steals. Junior guard Matt Palucki tallied nine points, while Nick Burt added three points, and equaled his career-highs with nine rebounds and six assists.

No. 7 Amherst 84, Middlebury 67

AMHERST, Mass. -- Outscoring Middlebury by 21 points in the second half, Amherst turned a four-point halftime deficit into an 84-67 victory against the Panthers on senior day in LeFrak Gymnasium.

Picking up its fourth consecutive win against Middlebury dating back to 2010-11, Amherst (21-3, 9-1 NESCAC) locked up the top seed in the upcoming NESCAC championship and will host No. 8 Colby in quarterfinal action on Saturday.

The Jeffs and Williams each finished with identical 9-1 league ledgers, but Amherst’s head-to-head win versus the Ephs helped secure the No. 1 seed. Finishing 16-8 overall and 6-4 in conference action, Middlebury will enter tournament play as the No. 3 seed and will host No. 6 Hamilton next weekend.

Shooting just 35.5 percent (11 of 31) during the first 20 minutes, the Jeffs shot a blistering 66.7 percent (18 of 27) after the break, including a 50.0 percent (8 of 16) showing from behind the arc. Plagued by foul trouble early, Aaron Toomey ’14 scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, while also finishing with eight assists and five rebounds.

Hitting eight of his 12 field goal attempts, Tom Killian had 18 points and seven boards, while Connor Green and David Kalema had 15 and 13 points, respectively. First-year David George was the only other Jeff to break into double digit scoring with 10.