Note: National Rankings are from the D3Hoops.com Poll as of February 27, 2017
ASTON, Pa. – The Endicott men's basketball team and the Nichols College Bison are locked in to meet for the fourth time this season on Saturday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Second Round of the 2017 NCAA DIII Men's Basketball Tournament inside The Mirenda Center in Aston, Pa. at Neumann University.
Endicott (23-6) knocked off No. 16 Salisbury in the opening round game, 71-68, as senior guard Kamahl Walker (Worcester, Mass.) sounded off for a game-high/season-high 32 points and the Gulls played tough defense when it mattered the most.
In the second game, Nichols bounced host No. 11 Neumann University, 96-93, to earn the right to take on the Gulls in what will be an epic rematch with the winner advancing to the Sweet Sixteen next weekend. Tonight's matchup ensures that the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) will be sending a conference member to the NCAA Third Round for the first time since Anna Maria went during the 1995-96 season.
NCAA TOURNAMENT SECOND ROUND: ENDICOTT (23-6) VS. NICHOLS (24-5) | CCC RELEASE
SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 7:00 PM | THE MIRENDA CENTER @ NEUMANN UNIVERSITY| ASTON, PA.
PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: Endicott and Nichols are meeting for the fourth time this season and 29th time in program history. The Gulls hold the overall ledger, 17-11, and have won four of the past seven meetings, but the Bison have the edge over the Gulls this season, 2-1. During the regular season, each team picked up a win on their home court. The Gulls and Bison split the regular-season series with a 93-80 win at home on Jan. 14, 2017, and a road loss (92-87) on Feb. 8, 2017. In their last meeting, in the CCC Tournament Championship last Saturday, Nichols was victorious, 67-64, but the Gulls are hungry for a shot at redemption on the biggest stage yet.
ENDICOTT (23-6) | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS | NCAA HISTORY | YEAR-BY-YEAR
After appearing in their third conference title game in the past five years, the Gulls are making their eighth overall NCAA appearance (third consecutive) in program history and first-ever as an at-large selection. Last season, Endicott also advanced to the Second Round for the first time ever with an 84-76 win over host No. 22 Catholic, before falling in overtime to Wooster,91-83. Endicott is now 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament under the direction of head coach Kevin Bettencourt (65-23) in his third year with the program.
As one of roughly 13 teams from the Northeast Region to enter the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17, this is the first time since the 2005-06 season that the CCC is sending two teams from its conference to the Big Dance. Most notably on their résumé this season, the Gulls defeated No. 24 Middlebury, 93-89, on Nov. 27, 2016 and went on to earn the program's first-ever national rankings during the week following two weeks. Endicott is led in scoring by All-CCC First Team senior guard Kamahl Walker(Worcester, Mass.), whose 534 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 this season, respectively. The Gulls' senior class is one win shy of becoming the winningest class to ever come through the Endicott men's basketball program.
NICHOLS (24-5) | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS | ARCHIVE
The Bison earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth this season after winning their first CCC Championship last weekend. 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. Echevarria leads the conference and ranks 10th in the nation in scoring at 23.1 ppg and first in the country in three-pointers made (131) and attempted (328). He's recorded 20 games of 20-or-more points this season – including six 30-point efforts. Named the conference's Rookie of the Week eight times this season, Bruton is second in the conference and 33rd in the nation in scoring at 21.6 ppg. Bruton scored 20-or-more points 16 times this season.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: The winner will move on to the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen and will face the winner of Middlebury/Lycoming on March 10 at a site and time to be determined.
NCAA DIII MEN'S BASKETBALL FIRST/SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE
Friday, March 3, 2017
All games hosted by Neumann University (Aston, Pa.)
Game 1: Endicott 71, No. 16 Salisbury 68
Game 2: Nichols 96, No. 11 Neumann 93
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Endicott vs. Nichols - 7:00 p.m.