Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year Connor McKim (6'0''-PG) hit a three-pointer with 3.1 seconds left to give Rollins a 71-70 win over Palm Beach Atlantic and the 2017 SSC Tournament Championship. The Tars (21-10) earn the SSC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament and will ride an eight-game winning streak into the bracket. Rollins trailed by 10 with less than eight minutes to play and was down six with 1:34 left. Jeff Merton (6'5''-F-95) was named the Tournament MVP and led the Tars with 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Eric Castaneda (6'4''-G) 12 points on a 4-of-6 night from long range. Joey Galvis (6'1''-G-94)added nine points, eight assists and three steals while Mckim also scored nine. Both Galvis and Mckim joined Merton on the All-Tournament team. Bakari Warthen (6'4''-G-96) led Palm Beach Atlantic (16-13) with 21 points and seven rebounds while Milos Kostic (6'8''-F-94) posted 21 points and six assists. Malek Barber (6'5''-F-97) totaled 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. The conference championship is the Tars' fifth in program history and first since 2011. Rollins will be making its 14th overall and second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Selection Show is slated or 10:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HALF-BY-HALF ANALYSIS First Half l The Tars jumped out to an 8-1 lead and didn't allow PBA's first field goal until the 15:29 mark. Castaneda pushed the Rollins advantage to 13-4 only to have the Sailfish close to 17-15 at the midway points of the first. Merton then started to have his way in the paint as Rollins pulled out to a 37-21 lead with 3:28 left in the half. PBA went on an 8-0 run to close the first and shrunk the Tars lead to 37-29 at intermission. Second Half l Rollins led 46-40 with 14:01 to play before PBA rolled off an 18-2 run and put the Tars down 58-50 with 7:30 to play. Rollins was just 1-of-6 from the field with three turnovers in the span. Led by Merton and Castaneda's hot hand, Rollins climbed back and got to within 70-64 with 1:34 left. Sam Philpott (6'7''-F-94) hit two clutch free throws and, after a defensive stop, Mckim got a pair at the line to make it a 70-68 score with 48 ticks left. PBA turned the ball over on its possession and Merton drew a foul on the other end. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but a jump ball was called on the rebound between Mckim and Warthen and the arrow kept it Tars ball. After a timeout, head coach Tom Klusman drew up a play, but PBA's defense tipped the pass and the loose ball went to Galvis, who found Mckim wide open in the corner for the game winner. PBA had one last look at the buzzer but the shot went long.
GAME NOTES -The Sunshine State Conference Championship was the fifth in Rollins history. -Rollins improves to 5-7 all-time in SSC Championship games. -Rollins is now 26-5 all-time against Palm Beach Atlantic -Jeff Merton (6'5''-F-95) (MVP), Joey Galvis (6'1''-G-94) and Connor McKim were named to the SSC All-Tournament Team. -Rollins is now 7-7 all-time as the No. 3 seed. -Sam Philpott (6'7''-F-94) has hit at least one field goal in each of the last 39 games. -Jeff Merton (6'5''-F-95) now as 1,221 career points, passing Myka Brown (6'4''-G/F) and Mike Veith for 25th on the Tars all-time scoring list. -Joey Galvis (6'1''-G-94) is now 12th on the Tars all-time steals list with 131. -Tom Klusman is now 674-392 in 37 years as the Tars head coach.
Joe Mazzulla Named Head Men's Basketball Coach at Fairmont State - 1 day ago
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In my Daily Dirt earlier today, I mentioned that Joe Mazzulla was the leader for DII Fairmont State. It's now been made official. Fairmont State University Director of Athletics Tim McNeely announced today that Joe Mazzulla has been named the program's 12th head men's basketball coach. Mazzulla will be introduced to the Fairmont community at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29 during a press conference inside Joe Retton Arena. Following some opening comments from Coach Mazzulla, media members... [read more]
In my Daily Dirt earlier today, I mentioned that Joe Mazzulla was the leader for DII Fairmont State. It's now been made official. Fairmont State University Director of Athletics Tim McNeely announced today that Joe Mazzulla has been named the program's 12th head men's basketball coach. Mazzulla will be introduced to the Fairmont community at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29 during a press conference inside Joe Retton Arena. Following some opening comments from Coach Mazzulla, media members will have the opportunity to do one-on-one interviews. Members of the community are invited to attend. A former West Virginia University standout, Mazzulla spent five years coaching at the NCAA Division II level, including three at Fairmont State, before serving as an assistant coach in the NBA Development league last year. 'It is a privilege to welcome Joe back to Fairmont, and we couldn't be happier to have him as our next head men's basketball coach,' said McNeely. 'Joe is well known around the state of West Virginia from leading the Mountaineers to the Final Four, and he has had success at every stop of his young coaching career. 'Coming off a national runner-up season, we wanted to keep the continuity and team chemistry as strong as possible, and we believe Joe is the correct person to keep FSU basketball rolling in the right direction.' 'I am pleased to welcome Joe back to Fairmont State, and I have complete confidence that we have found a leader that can keep FSU basketball competing at the highest level,' said FSU President Maria Rose. Mazzulla most recently served as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws (an affiliate of the Boston Celtics) of the NBA Developmental League for the last year. Maine currently leads the Atlantic Division of the NBADL standings with a 28-19 overall record. Prior to his position with the Red Claws, Mazzulla was an assistant coach for three seasons on Jerrod Calhoun's staff at Fairmont State. During that time, the Falcons compiled a record of 67-26 with three 20-win seasons and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. 'I would like to thank President Rose, Athletic Director Tim McNeely, Coach Jerrod Calhoun, the entire community of Fairmont and the current players at Fairmont State University for giving me the opportunity to take over the FSU basketball program,' said Mazzulla. 'It is very humbling to get this opportunity and I'm excited to come home and lead a program that is loved and supported by a group of passionate community members. Fairmont is a special place. 'I am excited to get back to work with the returning players and find ways that we can all get one percent better each day.' During his three year's on the coaching staff at Fairmont State, Mazzulla was instrumental in developing point guards Caleb Davis and Shammgod Wells into regular contributors and starters for the Falcon. Wells ended his career in 2017 as the school's all-time leader in both assists and steals. Davis started his first two seasons in Fairmont prior to becoming a key reserve for FSU as a junior in 2015-16. Davis started the first five games of the 2016-17 season before suffering a season-ending injury. Mazzulla was also key in the early development of point guard Jason Jolly, who served as the sixth-man for the Falcons in 2015-16 as a freshman. During that season, Jolly was fourth on the team in scoring (9.4) and made 52 three-pointers. Mazzulla started his coaching career by spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Glenville State. In his time with the Pioneers Mazzulla helped develop two All-WVIAC honorees and a pair of all-freshman team honorees. Prior to beginning his coaching career, Mazzulla played four seasons at West Virginia University for head coaches John Beilein and Bob Huggins. His teams made four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the Final Four in 2010. Mazzulla also won a Big East Tournament Championship and NIT Tournament Championship at WVU and the standout also excelled in the classroom, getting named to Big East Academic All-Star Team three times (2007, 2009 and 2010). The point guard was the sixth-man for the Mountaineers during the 2010 Final Four run. Mazzulla had a season-high 17 points in the regional final against Kentucky to help lead WVU to the Final Four. As a senior, Mazzulla started 16 games and averaged 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. The standout point guard also had 139 assists during his final season with the Mountaineers. Mazzulla and his wife Camai currently reside in Fairmont and have two children, Michael Harden and Emmanuel Joseph Daniel Mazzulla. Mazzulla is a native of Johnston, R.I. Courtesy of: hoopdirt.com
Player of the Year: Justin Pitts (5'9''-PG) of Northwest Missouri State NABC NCAA D2 All-America Team Matt Bingaya (6'4''-G-94) of Fairmont State Joshua Blaylock (6'2''-G) of Fort Lewis Luquon Choice (6'3''-G-93) of Lincoln Memorial Devin Gilligan (6'5''-F) of Southern New Hampshire Zach Hankins (6'10''-C) of Ferris State Jeremiah Hill (6'2''-G-95) of Valdosta State Aaron Lien (6'4''-G-95) of MSU Moorhead Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State Justin Reyes (6'4''-G/F) of St. Thomas Aqu... [read more]
Player of the Year:Justin Pitts (5'9''-PG) of Northwest Missouri State
Northwest Missouri wins Division II title - 4 days ago
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Northwest Missouri State has pulled off the double. The Bearcats defeated Fairmont State 71-61 victory for the NCAA Division II men's basketball championship on Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D. Northwest became the first Division II program to win football and men's basketball titles in the same school year. The Bearcats finished the season 35-1. Northwest Missouri State scored the game's first seven points and never trailed. The Bearcats extended an 11-point halftime lead to 14 on a Justin... [read more]
Northwest Missouri State has pulled off the double. The Bearcats defeated Fairmont State 71-61 victory for the NCAA Division II men's basketball championship on Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D. Northwest became the first Division II program to win football and men's basketball titles in the same school year. The Bearcats finished the season 35-1. Northwest Missouri State scored the game's first seven points and never trailed. The Bearcats extended an 11-point halftime lead to 14 on a Justin Pitts (5'9''-PG) three-pointer. Fairmont's Matt Bingaya (6'4''-G-94) went on a personal 6-0 run before Pitts responded with another triple. Fairmont entered the game averaging 95 points, but it couldn't muster much offense and its press defense was largely useless against the Bearcats. Pitts, the NABC Division II player of the year, finished with 23 points and was voted most outstanding player of the Elite Eight. The junior from Blue Springs played all 40 minutes and committed just one turnover. Chris-Ebou Ndow (6'6''-F-93) was the work horse on the boards with 18 rebounds to go along with 17 points. Anthony Woods (6'2''-G, college: NW Missouri St.) added 13. Northwest Missouri State had been the regional runner-up each of the past three years. But the Bearcats finished the job for the program's first men's basketball national championship. Courtesy of: kansascity.com
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