Both Tufts University basketball teams have a chance to secure the top spot in the upcoming New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournaments as long as both squads beat Middlebury College this evening (Friday, February 14th) and Williams College (Saturday, February 15th) tomorrow.
The Tufts men’s team positioned themselves for the top spot in the upcoming conference tournament earlier this month with an 80-67 win over Colby Collegefollowed by back-to-back wins at Connecticut College and Trinity College. The loss to Tufts was Colby’s first of the 2019-20 season.
The Tufts women’s team, which has yet to drop a single game this season, has been the top team in the NESCAC over the past few weeks, thanks to wins last month over Amherst College and Bowdoin College, two teams that will most likely secure the second and third seed in the conference tournament.
The Tufts men’s basketball team last secured the top spot in the NESCAC Tournament in 2017 with an end of season win against Williams. Tufts beat Hamilton College on its home court eight days later in the quarterfinals before falling to Williams in Medford in the semifinals. Tufts did make the NCAA Tournament that year as an at-large but saw its bid toward a national championship conclude against Babson College, which went onto beat Augustana eight days later in the D-III Championship.
The Tufts women’s team secured the top seed in the tournament in 2016 but lost to Amherst in the finals. Tufts rebounded from the one-point setback to the Mammoths by winning five consecutive postseason games as an at-large bid before falling to Thomas More in the national championship game.
We will learn the pairings for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament later this weekend, as well as which teams will face Tufts next weekend.
We’re t-minus three days away from the end of 2017 – let’s party!
Yet, before we officially turn the page to 2018, let’s take a look back at the year in New England Division III Basketball, beginning with the Babson College men’s basketball team, which captured its first-ever national title.
Similar to the hometown New England Patriots, the Beavers overcame a 25-point deficit in the national semifinals to defeat top-ranked Whitman, 91-85, before edging Augustana, 79-78, in the championship.
Joey Flannery netted a game-high 23 points in the final, while blocking a potential go-ahead layup by Augustana’s Nolan Ebel to secure the one-point win in Salem, Virginia.
The victory capped an exciting run by the Beavers, who closed out their 2016-17 campaign with 31-2 overall record. Babson won all six of its games in March, including a second meeting with Tufts University in NCAA Sectional Semifinals.
The Bay State also celebrated another national championship with Amherst College defeating Tufts in the women’s basketball national championship, thanks to a game-high 21 points from Ali Doswell. The win marked the third time the Mammoths has defeated the Jumbos last season – one of those victories came in the 2017 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship.
Amherst concluded its 2016-17 season 33-0, and remain undefeated this season thus far – they are back in action this afternoon (Thursday, December 28th) when they face UC Santa Cruz at the D3Hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In addition to Amherst and Babson, the 2016-17 season saw some other teams enjoy exciting runs, including the UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball team, which advanced to its first-ever ‘Elite Eight’ after knocking-off La Roche (71-64), Montclair State (71-63) and SUNY New Paltz (67-57).
On the men’s side, we saw Williams College advance to the national semifinals, while Keene State advanced to sectional finals to face Babson after defeating Amherst (69-66), Ramapo (92-91) and Christopher Newport (68-64). Endicott College also made a splash in the big dance, earning a pair of victories over Nichols College and Salisbury before falling to Middlebury College in the third round. The Panthers would fall to the Ephs of Williams the following day.
Following the final whistle – or game, technically – we unveiled our Noontime Sports Teams of the Year, including our first-ever Rookie Team, too!
Look for more New England Division III coverage in 2018, plus some new content and podcasts, too! As always, make sure to stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – you can also find us on LinkedIn, too!
Babson men’s basketball advanced to its second NCAA Division III men’s basketball semifinals in three years last night, defeating Keene State in the sectional finals. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jon Endow)
By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
The ‘Round of 16’ and ‘Round of eight’ concluded this past weekend with some exciting outcomes.
But now, we move onto the so-called, ‘Final Four’ where we’ll see a pair of Massachusetts squads competing in both the men’s and women’s NCAA Division III semifinals, beginning this Friday, March 17th. The national championship games will take place on Saturday, March 18th.
The men’s NCAA Division III semifinals and finals will take place in Salem, Virginia, while the women’s semifinals and finals will occur in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Babson College and Williams College advanced to this Friday’s men’s semifinals with convincing wins over Keene State and Middlebury College, respectively. Amherst College and Tufts University returned to the women’s semifinals for the second-straight season – it is possible we could see both New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) units compete in the national championship.
Williams avenged its NESCAC Championship loss by defeating No. 6 Middlebury College by a score of 79-75. Daniel Aronowitz concluded the game with a double-double, netting 10 points, while pulling down 12 rebounds. He said following his team’s sectional final victory that it is a ‘amazing feeling’ to return to Salem, Virginia.
The Ephs led the Panthers, 39-37, at the break before outscoring the hosts in the second stanza, 40-38. The Ephs collaborated for 10 of 14 free throws, while tallying 15 points on second chances. Middlebury won the battle of points off the turnover, scoring 25 compared to Williams, which tallied just six points.
Williams College celebrated an exciting four-point win over Middlebury College on Saturday in the NCAA Division III Sectional Finals. (PHOTO CREDIT: Williams College Athletics)
Williams’ Bobby Casey provided a lift for the Purple and Yellow off the bench, tallying 12 points in 20 minutes, including four trifectas. He sank four of five attempts from beyond the arc.
“It was just a hard-fought game,” said Williams men’s basketball coach Kevin App.
The Ephs will face Augustana, which secured a sectional final win over over Hanover, 77-64.
The No. 1 Amherst College women’s basketball team extended its season to the semifinal for the second-straight season, as the Purple and White defeated UMass Dartmouth, 73-33. Amherst will now face No. 10 Christopher Newport, which defeated Ohio Northern, 76-66.
Saturday’s sectional final win provided the Purple & White an opportunity to compete in the national semifinals for not just the second-straight season, but seventh time in program history.
As noted in last night’s release: “Amherst has now advanced to the national semifinals for the second time in a row, and seventh time in program history, including five straight appearances between 2009 and 2013, and highlighted by a national championship in 2011. The Purple & White enter semifinal action with a 37-11 overall record in NCAA postseason play.”
The No. 4 Tufts University women’s basketball team returned to the semifinals for the second-straight season, too, as they knocked-off No. 6Washington University (Mo.) last night, 57-43.
Michela North recorded a double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead Tufts to a sectional final win over Washington University (Mo.). (PHOTO CREDIT:
Michela North recorded her 14th career double-double in NCAA Tournament play with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Lauren Dillon led the Jumbos with a team-best seven assists.
Tufts secured an early lead, jumping out to a 14-12 advantage after the opening frame, but Washington University countered, outscoring the visitors, 6-5, in the second stanza to pull within one points (19-18) at the break.
Melissa Baptista and North helped the Jumbos push ahead for good in the second half, combining for seven points, which helped Tufts secure a 27-21 advantage. They would not look back, though, as they tallied 22 points in the frame before tacking on an additional 16 in the fourth.
Baptista finished with 14 points, while Jac Knapp added 10 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Tufts will take on No. 2 St. Thomas in the semifinals – the Tommies will enter the game riding a 31-game winning streak. They defeated No. 16 Whitman last night in their section, final by a score of 65-48.