First round means big performances

More news about: Alfred | Gwynedd Mercy | Nichols | Wheaton (Ill.)
Gwynedd Mercy was just 10-for-32 in the arc, but the Griffins went 14-for-26 from 3-point range to advance past Plattsburg State and into the second round.
Gwynedd Mercy athletics photo

Gwynedd Mercy advanced to the second round for the fourth time, Nichols won a nail-biter and Aston Francis scored 42 points, while Dom LeMorta outdid him by three to lead Alfred to a first-round win in its first NCAA Tournament game in a generation. Plus, in the game of the night, Northwestern handed St. John's a first-round loss, the second in a row for the Johnnies to the UMAC champ.

Rich Dunham netted a game-high 22 points to help lead Gwynedd Mercy to a 73-65 win over Plattsburgh State in a first-round game at Williams. Jeff Seigafuse added 19 off the bench with Matt Sommers (13 points) and Somah Slewion (11 points) also hitting double digits. The team tied a season high with 14 three pointers on the evening, including eight in the first half.

Marcos Echevarria scored a game-high 24 points and DeAnte Bruton added 22 as Nichols edged Middlebury 74-71 in first-round action at Rowan. Nichols went on a 14-1 run to turn a halftime deficit into a 49-45 lead. The four starters played an average of 36-plus minutes for the Bison, who improved to 26-2. Middlebury's season ends at 18-8. Having missed seven of its final eight 3-pointers in the first half, Nichols focused on pushing the ball inside in the second half and it got the Bison to foul line, where they made 19 of 21. Matt Folger led the Panthers with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Who had the worst night Friday?
Central Region women (Chicago, IWU)
NJAC men (NJCU, Ramapo)
St. John's
The final at-large teams (UW-La Crosse, Ramapo)
Anyone defending Francis or LeMorta

LeMorta led Alfred 92-76 over Ramapo, scoring 45 points – only one point short of tying the program record for points in a single game. The Saxons (24-4) advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985-86 and will face host Christopher Newport. "The most important thing to me is that we won," LeMorta said. "Forty-five points is great, but the important thing is that we won and we're moving on." It's Alfred's 14th consecutive win.

Aston Francis kept his season and career going with 42 points and 13 rebounds as Wheaton defeated Hanover 84-73 in a first-round game at Wooster. Francis, who entered the NCAA Tournament as the leading scorer in Division III men's basketball, added to his average, in part by shooting 8-for-16 from beyond the arc. Anajuwon Spencer added 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Cam Fails, who, like Francis, was named a finalist for the Jostens Trophy earlier in the afternoon, finished with 12 points while going 3-for-9 from the floor.

New Jersey City had its season end in the first round of the Division III NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season as the Gothic Knights could not hold Arcadia down. The Knights shot 59.5 percent and eliminated NJCU by an 80-60 score in first-round action at Marietta. The NJAC had three teams in the tournament: two lost in the first round on neutral floors to unranked teams by an average of 18 points, while Rowan salvaged the night with a sizable home win against Emerson (16-12).

Kyle Matoszkia, who played 17 minutes off of the bench, scored a career-high 14 points and pulled down six rebounds as Marietta easily defeated Maryville 101-77 in front of 1,527 fans at Ban Johnson Arena. The loss by Maryville means the end of Randy Lambert's coaching career, as he retires with a 722-325 record in 39 seasons with the Scot.

Capital found itself trailing by seven points with 2:40 to go in regulation, but rallied to force overtime and won in the extra session, defeating UW-Platteville 78-76. Four of Capital's five starters landed in double figures led by Joey Weingartner's 25 points. He shot 9-of-17 from the field and 6-of-13 from behind the arc. He also chipped in three assists as Capital improved to 21-7. The Crusaders face host Augustana on Saturday after the Vikings rolled over Aurora 93-67.

The defending national champions got their title defense off to a rollicking start, as the Prairie Wolves rolled past Eureka 101-75. Nebraska Wesleyan jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game then built up a 30-9 advantage with over ten minutes remaining in the half. Nate Schimonitz led NWU (27-1) with 24 points, going 8-for-11 from the floor and dishing out six assists in his 26 minutes. Dakota Bennington led Eureka (13-15), which was making its first-ever Division III NCAA Tournament appearance, with 29. 

Moravian used an 18-0 run early in the second half to break open a close game and earn an 86-65 victory over Keene State in first-round action at Hamilton. It's the first NCAA Tournament win in program history and the Greyhounds also tied the school record with their 20th win of the season, matching the total from last winter. The victors overcame 30 points from Keene State's Ty Nichols. Moravian will face Hamilton. The hosts survived two shots in the closing seconds to defeat Penn State-Behrend 72-70. Kena Gilmour scored a game-high 26 points for the Continentals (24-4). The Lions had the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference's last NCAA Tournament win, which came in 2014.

York (Pa.) fired on all cylinders on Friday night as the Spartans rolled past DeSales 83-59 in first-round play at Randolph-Macon. The Spartans, who hadn't won an NCAA Tournament game away from home since 2005, shot 63 percent from the floor and went 14-for-27 from 3-point range. The Spartans (22-7) squad got off to another fantastic start as they raced out to a 19-4 lead just over six and a half minutes into the game. Joey Polczynski scored a game-high 22 points. DeSales (21-7) got 16 from Ben Pratt.

It was raining 3's in the Palestra as the University of Rochester defeated Farmingdale State 85-68. The Yellowjackets opened on an 11-2 run and shot 9-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first half en route to the win. Ryan Clamage led Rochester (21-5) with 19 points and 10 rebounds as his team finished the night 16-for-27 from 3-point ange. The hosts go on to play Amherst, which powered past Rosemont 84-53.

MIT advanced to the round of 32 thanks in large part to a large performance from Tim Roberts. The senior kept his career going with a career-high 28 points and 21 rebounds as the Engineers rolled past Skidmore 90-67 in first-round action at Swarthmore. Roberts now has 18 double-doubles on the season and has recorded a double-double in five consecutive NCAA Tournament games.

Wittenberg won its 11th consecutive game and improved to 24-5 as the Tigers defeated Emory 100-88 in first-round action at Guilford. Jake Bertemes led the way for Wittenberg. Gulford had an easier time of it with Sewanee, defeating the Tigers 97-59 as 12 players got into the scoring column for the Quakers. Marcus Curry led Guilford (22-7) with 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting, while Jordan Warlick had 14 for Sewanee (21-7).

Oswego State advanced to the second round of the with a gritty victory at home over Salem State. Oswego used a stifling defense to continue its season, holding the Vikings to their second-lowest total of the year and 28.1 points below their season average. Trailing by one with 10:38 remaining, Oswego orchestrated a 20-7 span that lasted 7:43, with Quinn Carey and Tyler Pierre providing six points apiece.