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Morrisville State, Wells to play for NEAC Championship Tournament Title
MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Tournament host, Morrisville State College, handed visiting Penn State Harrisburg a 66-40 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament semi-final loss Saturday afternoon in Morrisville to advance to the title game for the second consecutive year.
The defending champions will face Wells College (13-13) who defeated South Division
regular season champion, Penn State Berks, in the second semi by an 82-61 final.
Junior forward Mickey Davis (Syracuse, N.Y.) led the Mustang (20-5) charge with 15 points and seven rebounds, hitting 6-of-8 shots from the floor, while dishing out two assists and stealing two others. Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 11, snaring six off the glass and blocking three, while teammate Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) came off the bench to round out top scoring with 10 points. Morrisville State controlled the boards 48-30, and dominated the offensive glass 17-6 over the Nittany Lions.
Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) posted a team high six assists and five steals.
The Nittany Lions were held to single digits in scoring, as Harrisburg’s Thristan Lundy (Philadelphia, Pa.) posted a team high nine points and added six rebounds to lead the team’s efforts, adding three steals. William Doyle (Franklin, Va.) contributed seven points and three assists.
Slow to get out of the gates, Morrisville State fell behind early as Harrisburg jumped out to a four point lead in the first 1:27 of the contest, and increased it to as many as six midway through the opening period.
The Mustangs turned the tables and found their offensive rhythm, responding with a 15-2 run to put the visitors behind by seven with under six minutes to go in the frame.
Doyle was able to bring Harrisburg back to within four with 5:35 to go, but Prior nailed one from long range to regain the seven point advantage for the hosts. Both teams played even in the final five minutes of the half, but Morrisville State went into the locker room with a spark and 31-22 lead, as Ater threw down a fast break dunk from Hanks as time expired in the half.
Morrisville State increased it to 12 with a three by Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) nearly three minutes into the second half, and Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa.)
added one of his own to bring Harrisburg to within nine, but the Mustangs went on a 14-5 run to open the game to an 18 point margin with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
Harrisburg hit a scoring drought and was only able muster a mere eight points in the final 10 minutes as Morrisville State went on to add 16 more for the victory.
The Mustangs out shot Harrisburg, nailing 23-of-61 shots (37.7 percent) as they posted 32 points in the paint and 22 off turnovers to the Nittany Lions 16-of-50 (32.0 %).
Morrisville State will defend their title tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the STUAC gymnasium on the Morrisville State campus, against Wells College who pulled off the upset over Penn State Berks, the South Division regular season champions.
Four put up big numbers for the Express, including Jonathan Hurtado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who had a team high 25 points and 11 rebounds, adding five assists and four steals to his tallies. EJ Taylor (Tampa Bay, Fla.) added 19 points, nailing four from long range, while compiling five rebounds, two assists and four steals. JJ Walton
(Ocala, Fla.) added 15 and Al Paul (Elmont, N.Y.) 11 to round out top scorers for Wells.
Tom Smith (Norristown, Pa.) and Dontez Reid (Gettysburg, Pa.) each tallied 12 points and Dameon Nixon (Coatesville, Pa.) added 10 points, 10 boards, five assists and two steals, to lead the Penn State Berks (13-12) efforts.
Wells led from the get go, posting their first score of the contest just 16 seconds in on a layup from Taylor as the Nittany Lions struggled to get their offensive game going, mustering just a free throw by Jeff Schmidt (Orefield, Pa.) in the opening four minutes as the Express posted eight points.
Wells dominated the inside game, posting 24 points in the paint, including eight on second chance opportunities to hold a 43-33 advantage at intermission behind a combined 38 points from Taylor, Hurtado and Walton.
In the second, Connor Hough (Telford, Pa.) hit back-to-back layups to bring the Nittany Lions to within seven, but Paul scored seven straight for Wells to regain the double digit lead as the Express didn’t look back and collected the 21 point victory to advance to the title game.
Wells went 31-for-57 from the floor (54.4 percent) on the day, while Berks shot just
35.1 percent on 20-of-57 shots. The Express won the rebounding game 42-32.
Tomorrow’s contest will be the third meeting between the two teams this season. Morrisville State were victorious in both, 71-58 and 77-65. The winner of tomorrow’s match up will receive the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched
with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.