Noontime Hoops Notebook: Amherst, Tufts Win NESCAC Crowns
By Matt Noontime | @MattyNoonz11
A busy weekend of conference championships has come to an end today with Amherst College beating Hamilton College in the men’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship, while Tufts University topped Bowdoin College in the women’s title game.
With their respective wins, Amherst and Tufts are headed back to the NCAA Division III basketball tournaments – we will learn the pairings tomorrow for the opening round games, which will take place next Friday, March 1st.
Here are some news and notes from both today’s championship, and what you need to know heading into tomorrow’s selection show.
Tufts hands Bowdoin its first loss of the 2018-19 season: Coach Carla Berube led the Jumbos to their third conference crown in five seasons this afternoon with an exciting 75-69 win in Maine.
With the win, the Jumbos have now won six games since falling to Amherst earlier this month at home. The victory also provided Bowdoin its first setback of the season – the Polar Bears entered the contest riding a 26-game winning streak.
Tufts’ Jac Knapp paced all scorers with 25 points, while Erica DeCandido contributed 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, along with five assists, two steals, one block, and one rebound.
Maddie Hasson led Bowdoin with 20 points – she finished the game 10 of 10 from the stripe, while Abby Kelly added 16 points. As a team, Bowdoin ended the game 20 of 21 from the charity stripe.
Tufts led by one (52-51) heading into the final stanza but relied on Knapp down the stretch to sink some key freebies to secure the win.
The victory provided the Jumbos with the conference’s automatic bid for the upcoming tournament, while Bowdoin will wait to hear its name called as an at-large tomorrow.
Amherst tops Hamilton to win its first title since 2014: After defeating Williams College in yesterday’s semifinal, the Mammoths secured the conference’s automatic berth to the upcoming postseason tournament with a 62-56 win over the Continentals. Fru Che and Granton Robinson each netted 16 points, while Devonn Allen added 14 points, six rebounds, two steals and one block.
The Mammoths led Hamilton, 36-31, at the break before padding its lead with 26 points in the final stanza.
Peter Hoffmann paced Hamilton with 15 points, while Kena Gilmour added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Amherst has now won eight NESCAC crowns dating back to its initial in the current stretch in 2001 when coach David Hixon led the Mammoths to an 86-75 win over Trinity College.
Who is headed to the NCAA Tournament from New England? So, what schools secured an automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Tournament? The answer is below!
Men’s Basketball Teams
- Nichols College
- Albertus Magnus
- Keene State
- Salem State
- Mitchell College
- Amherst College
- Emerson College
- Husson University
Women’s Basketball Teams
- Western New England
- Emmanuel College
- Eastern Connecticut
- Westfield State
- New England College
- Tufts University
- Husson University
Who could receive an at-large bid? So, who could receive an at-large bid? Well, here are some thoughts on which teams we think could get into the tournament (below again!).
- Gordon College: The Fighting Scots should hear their name called tomorrow, but as of now, it appears as if they are on the bubble.
- Eastern Connecticut: The Warriors will certainly be considered by the committee, however, if their name is called, then it will most likely be at the end.
- Hamilton College: The Continentals have been one of the NESCAC’s top teams this year, so they should get an invite tomorrow.
- Middlebury College: An early round exit in the NESCAC Tournament left me wondering if their season was over, but similar to Hamilton, they have been one of the top teams in their conference and region, so expect the Panthers to hear their name announced tomorrow.
- Williams College: The Ephs should be in the tournament this year, but Hamilton and Middlebury should hear their name called before Williams, though.
- MIT: Despite falling to WPI last Thursday in the NEWMAC semifinals, the Engineers have done enough to secure an at-large bid. They will certainly hear their name called.
- St. Joseph’s (Maine): Despite falling to Emmanuel College, they most likely have done enough to secure an invite to the ‘big dance.’
- UMass Dartmouth: If the Corsairs hear their name called on Monday, they will most likely be one four teams into the tournament.
- Amherst College: The defending champions will be in.
- Bowdoin College: The Polar Bears saw their 26-game winning streak conclude this afternoon, but they will get an invite as one of the top teams in the country.
- Middlebury College: Advancing to conference championship weekend may be enough for the Panthers to get into the postseason.
- Trinity College: Their loss last week to Middlebury may hurt their chances, but anything is possible, so maybe they sneak in as one of the last teams in.
- Smith College: Despite a heartbreaking loss to Springfield College earlier this week, these Pioneers have appeared to have done enough to get a look from the committee.
- Babson College: Similar to UMass Dartmouth and Trinity College, they will be waiting to hear if they are one of the last four in.
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