Men's Basketball Heading to Franklin & Marshall
Amherst is 28-14 all-time in NCAA Tournament play with a 7-2 record in the sectional semifinals.
Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst men's basketball team continues its quest for a second national title on Friday, Mar. 9 when it travels to Lancaster, Pa. for a sectional semifinal showdown with Franklin & Marshall College scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The College of Staten Island and MIT will meet in the day's other sectional semifinal at the Mayser Center set to tip-off at 5:30 p.m., with the winners of both games advancing to the national quarterfinal on Saturday, Mar. 10 at 7 p.m.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for Friday's session will be on sale at the Mayser Center West Lobby beginning Wednesday. For specific hours, please visit the Franklin & Marshall athletics website. Tickets for Saturday's session will go on sale at the conclusion of the second game Friday evening and after 5:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Mayser lobbies. Ticket prices have been set at $7 for adults, $4 for students and seniors and free for children under two.
LIVE COVERAGE: Each of this weekend's games will feature a live webcast.
SCOUTING AMHERST: Winners of 13-straight, second-ranked Amherst (26-2) advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 for the 10th time in program history with a decisive 80-56 victory over New York University. Having gone 7-2 in its previous nine sectional semifinal appearances, the Jeffs will look to improve upon their 28-14 overall record in NCAA Tournament play.
In a second round match-up with the Violets, Amherst put together arguably its best defensive effort of the season, holding NYU to 36.2 percent shooting, including a 29.2 percent clip from behind the arc. Keeping the visitors nearly 20 points below their season average, while forcing 16 turnovers, the Jeffs rolled to a 24-point margin of victory.
On the other end of the floor, the NESCAC’s second highest scoring offense (79.0 ppg), enjoyed another efficient outing, hitting 48.1 percent (25-for-52) of its shots, including 47.4 percent (9-for-19) of its three-pointers.
Once again keying the Lord Jeff attack was All-NESCAC selection Aaron Toomey ’14, who poured in a career-high 34 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Going 14-for-15 from the line, he has made a living from the charity stripe this year, setting a program record for free-throws made in a single season (174).
The culmination of a stellar two-week stretch, the sophomore guard has been red hot of late, averaging 21.6 points and 6.0 assists, while shooting 60.6 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from long distance in the three NESCAC Tournament games prior to his outburst against NYU.
Helping to spread the floor for the Jeff offense, Taylor Barrise ’12 has been dialed in from distance down the stretch, knocking down 29 of his 51 attempts (56.8 percent) from beyond the arc over his last 10 games. The program’s career three-point field goal leader (223), he needs just 21 points to become the 25th player in Lord Jeff history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau.
Giving Amherst a strong presence on the low block are Peter Kaasila ’13, Jeff Holmes ’12 and Willy Workman ’13. Shooting .579 from the field, Kaasila ranks second on the team in blocks, while Holmes ranks second on the squad in rebounding (6.3).
Doing a little bit of everything, Workman continued to prove his versatility in both the NESCAC championship game and NCAA second round showdown with NYU, averaging 12.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks, while going 10-for-18 (55.6 percent) from the floor.
The NESCAC’s Defensive Player of the Year, Workman has also shown the ability to be a lockdown defender, ranking second in the league in steals (1.79), fourth in blocks (1.14) and sixth (5.0) in defensive rebounds per game.
SCOUTING FRANKLIN & MARSHALL: Franklin & Marshall (27-2), captured its third-consecutive Centennial Conference title en route to a fourth-straight NCAA Tournament berth (23rd overall). Winners of eight in a row, the Diplomats defeated Washington College (100-69) in the conference semifinals before besting Muhlenberg College (71-55) in the title game, to avenge their only two losses on the season.
Posting an 18-1 record at home, Franklin & Marshall features one of the nation’s stiffest defenses, having held nine of its last 13 opponents under 60 points. On the year, the Diplomats lead NCAA Division III in scoring defense (55.8) and field-goal percentage defense (36.0), while ranking second in blocks per game (6.0) and seventh in rebounding margin (+8.6).
Juniors Georgio Milligan and Hayk Gyokchyan have played an integral role in the Diplomats' success this season and should once again look to play a big factor this weekend. The Centennial Conference Player of the Year, Milligan led the team in scoring (18.4), assists (4.9) and steals (2.2), while knocking down 43.8 percent of his three-pointers. In a first round match-up with York (PA), he poured in 22 points, adding nine rebounds, six assists and three steals, before hitting 5-of-10 shots for 14 points in an 82-72 second round win over Western Connecticut.
With Milligan controlling the perimeter, Gyokchyan gives Franklin & Marshall a strong presence in the middle to form a formidable one-two punch. Averaging 13.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on the year, he had 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting against York (PA) before notching a career-high 34 points with nine rebounds against Western Connecticut.
Featuring one of the nation’s best defenses, MIT has racked up a program record 27 wins, while ranking second nationally in rebounding margin (+11.3), third in scoring defense (56.7) and seventh in field-goal percentage defense (38.0). Also scoring nearly 76 points per game, the Engineers boast the nation’s largest margin of victory (19.1), thanks to a balanced attack that features four players who average double-figures.
Headlining the MIT offense is senior Noel Hollingsworth, who averaged 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, while shooting 55.3 percent from the field en route to first team All-NEWMAC honors. Hollingsworth was especially effective in the Engineers’ second round win over Farmingdale State, netting a career-high 37 points, while pulling down 12 boards.
Joining him in the frontcourt is fellow NEWMAC first teamer Will Tashman ’13, who recorded a double-double in both NCAA Tournament games after averaging 11.6 points and 9.5 rebounds on the year.
Helping to space the floor for MIT’s bigs are guards Jamie Karraker ’12 and Mitchell Kates ’13. Karraker currently ranks seventh nationally in three-point field goals made per game (3.5), while Kates, who averaged 13.5 points and 5.3 assists on the year, fell just two assists shy of a triple double in the first round match-up with Skidmore, finishing with 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
SCOUTING CSI: After dropping a non-conference game to Illinois Wesleyan in late December, Staten Island (26-4) rattled off 17-straight wins en route to a CUNYAC title and its first NCAA Championship berth since the 2001-02 season. Making the most of its return to the Tournament, the Dolphins scored a decisive 98-73 opening round win over Ithaca College before defeating Rhode Island College 77-67 to extend its unbeaten streak to a record 19 games.
As the CUNYAC’s highest scoring offense (79.3), the Dolphins have relied on an efficient attack that ranks third nationally in three-point shooting (41.2) and sixth in field-goal percentage (50.2).
Serving as the catalyst to the CSI offense is CUNYAC Tournament MVP and first team selection T.J. Tibbs. Averaging 15.9 points and 6.1 assists, Tibbs has been on a tear of late, scoring 31 points with four assists in the conference championship game before netting 24 points with 14 helpers against Ithaca. The senior guard then erupted for a career-high 40 points, adding six rebounds in the second round against RIC.
Joining Tibbs in the backcourt is sophomore Bloochy Magliore, who led the team in scoring (17.7), while ranking second in rebounds (5.2). Among the nation’s leaders in three-point field goals made per game (3.0), Magliore had 26 points in the Dolphins’ first round win over the Bombers, connecting on 6-of-12 attempts from long distance, while grabbing 14 boards.
Complementing CSI’s dynamic duo is senior forward Jordan Young, who gives the Dolphins a much needed presence on the low block. Averaging 16.5 points and 7.6 rebounds in 2011-12, he shot 7-for-10 against Ithaca to finish with 18 points and seven rebounds.
2012 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship
Lancaster, PA - Mayser Center
Sectional Semifinals - Friday, Mar. 9
CSI (26-4) vs. #3 MIT (27-1) --- 5:30 p.m.
#2 Amherst (26-2) vs. #9 Franklin & Marshall (27-2) --- 7:30 p.m.
Sectional Finals - Saturday, Mar. 10
CSI/MIT vs. Amherst/Franklin & Marshall --- 7 p.m.
* * * NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET * * *
CSI Team Website * MIT Team Website * F & M Team Website