Nichols Tops Endicott, Secures Fourth-Straight CCC Tournament Title

Wentworth and Nichols College

DeAnte Bruton’s double-double helped Nichols College beat Endicott College in Saturday’s CCC Tournament Finals. (PHOTO COURTESY: Nichols College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

DeAnte Bruton poured in a game-high 38 points on 12 of 27 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds and two assists as the Nichols College men’s basketball team edged Endicott College, 76-75, in this afternoon’s Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship.

With the win, the Bison have now won four-straight conference tournament championships, including three against the Gulls. Additionally, the victory secures the Bison a spot in the upcoming NCAA D-III Tournament, which tips-off next weekend.

Nichols secured a three-point lead at the break (38-35), thanks to Bruton and Matt Morrow, who combined for 23 points in the first half. Bruton would net 26 points during the final 20 minutes on 7 of 16 shooting. He also netted 10 of 12 freebies in the final session.

Endicott did keep pace with Nichols throughout the second half – they mainly trailed by one or two baskets, but did fall behind by seven points with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Gulls would eventually close the gap to four points (76-72) with 1:06 remaining and then one point (76-75) with 38 seconds remaining, thanks to a made three-pointer by Keith Brown.

Brown and the Gulls would not convert an additional field goal following the made trifecta as Nichols drained the clock before firing a shot as time expired on the shot clock with eight seconds remaining. Brown did get the rebound of the missed field goal but had the ball taken away with two seconds remaining by Kash Jackson.

Morrow concluded the contest with 19 points while Jaekwon Spencer registered 11 rebounds, seven points, two steals, and two blocks.

Brown led Endicott with 23 points, Jalen Echevarria scored 21 points while Matt McDevitt tallied 11 points.

Nichols, which advanced to the elite eight last season, will find out who they will face in the opening round of the NCAA D-III Tournament on Monday, March 2nd.

New England Basketball Weekend Watch (Friday, Jan. 17th)

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Friday, everyone – hope you are all staying warm on this bone-chilly (and windy) day in Boston.

Did I hear there was some snow in the forecast for tomorrow? When does the warm weather arrive?

Well, while we anxiously wait for temperatures that we had a week ago, let’s dish out a brand new ‘New England Basketball: Weekend Watch’ with some thoughts on a few local D-III games.


Colby College at Middlebury College (Friday, Jan. 17th at 7 p.m.): A battle between our top two teams in this week’s Noontime Top 10 Men’s Basketball Poll.

The Mules of Colby enter the contest riding an impressive 13-game winning streak – they extended that streak last weekend with back-to-back wins over Connecticut College and Trinity College. Sam Jefferson is one of two players in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) averaging 22.8 points per game – he will certainly be a player to watch on Friday evening, as well as someone the Panthers will need to locate when he is on the court.

As for the Panthers, they enter this marquee matchup with a 15-1 mark – they lost last weekend to Amherst College but rebounded the following day with a one-point win over Hamilton College. Tommy Eastman highlighted the Blue and White’s win over the Continentals – similar to Jefferson, he will also be a player to watch in this contest.

Noontime’s Prediction: I think the Panthers’ win over Hamilton provided them with some momentum that not only helped them against Albertus Magnus earlier this week but should assist them to make a few more plays than Colby, especially down the stretch. Middlebury will beat Colby, 81-78. 

Tufts University at Amherst College (Saturday, January 18th at 3 p.m.): It may be too early to call this a ‘must-win’ game for both teams, but as two of the top three women’s basketball teams in the NESCAC, this is a VERY important contest.

Since falling to Emmanuel College last month, the Mammoths have won 11-straight – they will attempt to make it 12-straight wins when they host Bates College this evening with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

Amherst’s Madeline Eck was named the conference’s player of the week on Monday – she entered the week averaging 15.6 points per game. The senior guard, who has played and started in all 15 games this season, has converted 72.1 percent of her free throws while averaging seven caroms per contest.

First-year coach Jill Pace has enjoyed a very successful start with the Jumbos, who enter this weekend riding a 14-game winning streak. Before Tufts visits Amherst on Saturday, they will travel to Hamilton on Friday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Tufts opened conference play last week with a 78-60 win over Wesleyan University – it was a game that featured a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds by Erica DeCandido. DeCandido will be a player to watch on the Powder Blue and White against the Mammoths on Saturday.

Noontime’s Prediction: This will be a good test for both teams, but Amherst has been impressive since falling to the Saints and should find a way to beat the Jumbos on their home court by a score of 63-57. 


Time for some ‘extra picks’ for the weekend! 

MBB: Tufts (MBB) over Hamilton (Jan. 17th): After falling to Suffolk University earlier this week, the Jumbos will find a way to bounce back against the Continentals before hosting the Mammoths on Saturday afternoon.

MBB: Emmanuel College over Lasell University (Jan. 18th): Coach Danny Lawson and the Saints should continue their recent momentum at home against the Lasers and score their first conference win of 2020.

WBB: Smith College over Emerson College (Jan. 18th): The Pioneers scored an impressive road win earlier this week against the Ephs of Williams College and should be able to continue that momentum on the other side of the state against the Lions.

MBB: Endicott College over Roger Williams (Jan. 18th): The Gulls have rebounded nicely since falling to Nichols College earlier this month with back-to-back wins over Curry College and Gordon College. Look for a big game on Saturday from Keith Brown and Jalen Echevarria.

WBB: Rhode Island College over UMass Boston (Jan. 18th): RIC appears to be the team to beat in the Little East Conference (LEC) – they enter Saturday’s match-up riding an 11-game winning streak. RIC’s Willcia McBorrough will be the player to watch in this contest.

WBB: Westfield State over Bridgewater State (Jan. 18th): After surrendering 101 points to Framingham State last weekend, the Owls have rebounded with some important conference wins over Fitchburg State and Worcester State. Look for Blue and White to extend their current winning streak to three games on Saturday.

WBB: Eastern Nazarene at Mitchell College (Jan. 18th): The Lions appear to be the team to beat (and watch) in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) – this has the making of a potential postseason preview.


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