Salem State Set To Face Tufts In NCAA Tournament

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Salem State’s Marcus Faison and the Vikings will take on Tufts University in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament’s First Round on Friday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Salem State Athletics)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Salem State University men’s basketball coach Chris Harvey knows his Vikings will be challenged on the opening day of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Winners of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), the Vikings earned a date with Tufts University this Friday at St. John Fisher College (Pittsford, N.Y.) with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Salem State and Tufts did not meet this season, but did compete against each other last year at the New England Big 4 Challenge. The Jumbos beat the Vikings, 90-77, thanks to 25 points from Vincent Pace and 20 points from Tom Palleschi.

“It’s going to be a tough match-up for us,” Harvey said of his team’s first-round contest against the Jumbos.

“Coach (Bob) Sheldon is as good as an offensive coach that you will find and they’re playing good defense as well, so it’s cliché, but we will have to bring an A-effort to stay in the game, and if we do that and get a little bit of tempo going then we’ll have a fighting chance.”

The Jumbos, who advanced to this year’s NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid, enter the postseason winners of 20 contests. They saw their bid toward a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown conclude last Saturday with an 81-65 setback to Williams College.

Despite not facing the Jumbos this season, Harvey and his crew would consider themselves ‘very familiar’ with Tufts – in a way, they believe their last meeting, along with some current film study will help with crafting a game plan for defending the Powder Blue and White.

“We’re very familiar with Tufts (despite) not playing them this year,” Harvey said. “We played them last year and didn’t have success (against them), but we know a little bit about their (current) personnel and we’ll have to dive into film here and try to piece together a plan of attack.”

Part of that so-called ‘attack’ will be attempting to find a way to slow down Tufts’ offense, which has averaged 83 points per game this season. Not only can they score inside the paint, but also outside the half circle, too.

In order to be successful, the Vikings will need every member of its roster to step-up, whether it is on offense or defense. They’ll need their seniors and captains – Marcus Faison and Shyheim Davis-Smith – to guide them, along with some long-range field goals from Jacob Lindland. Additionally, they’ll need Faison and Drew Healy to control the glass on defense.

“We have to do what we do,” said Harvey, “and make sure how we play gets the most of our focus in practice. We’re not going to recreate Tufts, every set they run, every tendency they have, every individual player stuff … I am just a believer in really focusing on what you’re doing and put a lot of focus on that, what they’re doing and at the end of the day just go in confident with your game plan and try to execute and adjust in the flow of the game when you can.”

The winner of Salem State-Tufts will meet host St. John Fisher-St. Lawrence on Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m.

Thursday Night Was A CRAZY Night Of MASCAC Semifinal Action

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Raegan Mulherin sank the game-winning trey with seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to send Framingham State past MCLA in the MASCAC Semifinals on Thursday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Framingham State Athletics/Frank Poulin)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

If you’re not following the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament, then I suggest you do now!

Last night featured four dramatic games – one being decided in double-overtime (Bridgewater State-Westfield State), two contests saw both teams win their respective game by one point, while Worcester State shocked top-seed Fitchburg State, 71-68.

With four dramatic and exciting semifinals in the books, we now turn our attention to tomorrow’s championships, which promise to be even more exciting.

Yet, before we turn the page officially, let’s revisit all four contests, starting with Framingham State edging MCLA during the final seconds.

Framingham 60, MCLA 59Following a steal by Framingham State’s Monta Connolly, the Rams called timeout with roughly 10 seconds remaining. After their short breather, the Rams, who trailed by two (59-57), needed a layup or jumper in the paint to send the contest to overtime. However, the Black and Gold did not want to advance to an extra session – they wanted to secure the win. And that they did as Raegan Mulherin sank the game-winning triple with two seconds remaining, which sent the Athletic and Recreation Center into celebration city.

Westfield State 97, Bridgewater State 95 (2OT)A late layup in the second overtime by Bridgewater State’s Sara DaSilva brought the visitors within two-points (97-95) with 40 seconds remaining. 33 seconds later, it appeared Westfield State had secured the win, but a missed layup allowed the Bears an opportunity to tie the game or score the game-winning trey. Unfortunately, the Red and White missed two field goals – a triple and layup – before Susan Bell snatched the game’s final carom, which secured the Owls a spot in Saturday’s title round. Westfield State’s Jill Valley paced all scorers with 39 points.

Worcester State 71, Fitchburg State 68Since falling to Westfield State – their last regular season contest – something has clicked for Dave Lindberg‘s crew. The Lancers, who will be competing in their first MASCAC championship since 2006 (that season, they fell to Salem State in the title round) knocked-off top-seed Fitchburg State last night, thanks to monstrous performance from Paul Brooks, who recorded a double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds. Jeremy Bacon also recorded a double-double, finishing the contest with 11 points and 11 caroms. Ryan Dibernardo and Aaron Anniballi combined for three free throws down the stretch, which secured the exciting win for the Lancers.

Salem State 69, Bridgewater State 68: Sean Bryan netted the biggest trifecta of the season with six seconds remaining to lift second-seed Salem State past Bridgewater State by one-point. Bryan’s three-pointer capped an amazing second half, which saw the Vikings net 42 points in 20 minutes. Salem State trailed Bridgewater State, 30-27, at the break. The trifecta in the final seconds was Bryan’s lone basket of the contest. Marcus Faison led the Vikings with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Bridgewater State’s Fawaz Mass led all scorers with 22 points.

To watch Bryan’s game-winning trey – HOP HERE

Noontime Sports D3 Men’s Basketball Preseason Team

basketball-preseasonBy NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

The NCAA Division III Basketball season officially tips-off next Tuesday, November 15th and in honor of a brand new season, we’re dishing out our Noontime Sports D3 Men’s Basketball Preseason Team.

Congratulations to the student-athletes that landed on our inaugural team and best of luck this season!

Forwards/Centers

Jordan Cooper (Brandeis)

Jason Ganley (Wentworth)

Marcus Faison (Salem State)

David George (Amherst)

Hugh Lindo (East Conn.)

Isaiah Nelsen (Babson)

Ed Ogundeko (Trinity)

Tom Palleschi (Tufts)

Nick Portelance (UMass Dartmouth)

Jack Simonds (Bowdoin)

 

Guards

Daniel Aronowitz (Williams)

Jaleel Bell (Fitchburg State)

Jayde Dawson (Amherst)

Sean Doncaster (WPI)

Joey Flannery (Babson)

Bradley Jomard (MIT)

Johnny McCarthy (Amherst)

Matt Ozzella (Keene State)

Matt St. Amour (Middlebury)

Kamahl Walker (Endicott)