BEVERLY, Mass. — The No. 2 seed Endicott men's basketball team has earned the right to compete for the chance to three-peat for the second time in program history with a berth into the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship game this Saturday at No. 1 seed Nichols College.
CCC CHAMPIONSHIP: NO. 2 ENDICOTT AT NO. 1 NICHOLS
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 12:00 PM | NICHOLS ATHLETIC CENTER | DUDLEY, MASS. [DIRECTIONS]
Note: Doors will close once capacity is reached, so please plan to arrive early! If you wish to ride the ENDICOTT FAN BUS, please sign up HERE! #flocktheship
THE MATCHUP: The Gulls (22-5 overall) will go on the road at top-seeded Nichols on Saturday, February 25th at 12:00 p.m. to compete for the conference championship. During the regular season, each team picked up a win on their home court. The Gulls and Bison split the the regular-season series with a 93-80 win at home on Jan. 14, 2017, and a road loss (92-87) in the most recent meeting on Feb. 8, 2017.
POSTSEASON HISTORY: The Gulls have qualified for the conference tournament each in the past four consecutive years, and 20 of the 23 years since Endicott became NCAA Division III varsity program in 1994-95. Endicott is in the hunt for its ninth title (7x CCC, one GNAC) and third-straight under third-year head coach Kevin Bettencourt. If the Gulls are able to three-peat, it will be in first time in CCC history since the 2004-06 squads of Endicott completed the trifecta. An Endicott win would be the fourth time in the history of the CCC that a team has won three straight men's basketball conference titles. (Anna Maria '90-'92; Colby Sawyer '00-'03'; Endicott '04-'06)
NO. 2 ENDICOTT (22-5, 15-3 CCC) | STATISTICS | SCHEDULE
The Gulls advanced to the conference championship for the third straight time with an 84-66 win over No. 6 Eastern Nazarene in the CCC Semifinals on Thursday. Endicott is trying to make it three straight conference championship wins in a row. Last season, the Gulls made a run through the bracket as the No. 4 seed and defeated Roger Williams in the Championship, 75-62. Should Endicott complete the three-peat, it would be the fourth time in CCC history one team has won three men's basketball championships in a row. The Gulls are on a five-game win streak and posted a 20-plus win season for the fifth time in program history. Endicott is led in scoring by All-CCC First Team senior guard Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.), whose 486 points this season helped him become the program's all-time leading scorer back on Jan. 31, 2017. Senior guard Max Motroni (West Warwick, R.I.) and senior forward Daquan Sampson (Germantown, Md.) were also named to the All-CCC Second and Third teams earlier this week, respectively. The Gulls boast the conference's best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.24), defensive rebounds per game (29.92), fewest fouls (420), free-throw percentage (75.4), and scoring margin (13.7), which is 11th in the country for all of Division III.
NO. 1 NICHOLS (22-5, 15-3 CCC) | STATISTICS | SCHEDULE
The Bison—who earned the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament for the fourth-consecutive season—are returning to the Conference Championship for the first time since the 2013-14 season. The Bison are seeking their first-ever CCC title after being upset in the past three tournaments as the No. 1 seed. Nichols used an 18-0 run to grab the lead about halfway through the second stanza against No. 5 seed Wentworth on Thursday in the CCC Semifinals to come away with an 83-74 win. All-CCC First Team sophomore guard Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.) and All-CCC First Team freshman guard DeAnte Bruton (New London, Conn.) have been named the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Men's Basketball Player and Rookie of the Year, respectively. Echeverria leads the conference and ranks 10th in the nation in scoring at 23.4 ppg. He's recorded 19 games of 20-or-more points this season – including six 30-point efforts. Named the conference's Rookie of the Week seven times this season, Bruton is second in the conference and 32nd in the nation in scoring at 21.5 ppg. He scored a career-high 38 points in a win over defending conference champion Endicott last week and enters the playoffs having reached double digits in scoring in all but three games this season. Bruton scored 20-or-more points 15 times this season and also averaged 4.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, and 1.9 spg. He is also 12th in the nation in field goals with 209.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: The CCC Tournament Champion will receive the conference's automatic qualifier into the NCAA DIII Men's Basketball Championship.
2017 CCC MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
(Games hosted by the higher seed)
Quarterfinals – Tuesday, Feb. 21
#1 Nichols def. #8 University of New England, 89-71 | BOX
#2 Endicott def. #7 Salve Regina, 110-64 | BOX
#6 Eastern Nazarene def. #3 Roger Williams, 83-78 | BOX
#5 Wentworth def. #4 Gordon, 82-75 | BOX
Semifinals – Thursday, Feb. 23
#1 Nichols def. #5 Wentworth, 83-74 | BOX
#2 Endicott def. #6 Eastern Nazarene, 84-66 | BOX
Finals – Saturday, Feb. 25
#2 Endicott at #1 Nichols, 12:00 p.m.