The West Liberty and Fairmont State men's basketball teams are assured of playing in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament. Neither was interested in resting comfortably despite knowing their seasons would continue after Sunday's Mountain East Conference Tournament championship game at the Charleston Civic Center. Fairmont State (29-2) led 64-56 with 5:14 remaining, but West Liberty scored 11 of the game's final 12 points. The Hilltoppers worked the game to a 64-64 tie, broken with 1:03 left on a David Dennis (6'1''-G) free throw. After Matt Bingaya missed two free throws, David Dennis (6'1''-G) made two free throws with 10 seconds left for a three-point advantage. 'I heard the word resilience and that kind of describes the way we play,' West Liberty coach Jim Crutchfield said. 'I told them at halftime that we were going to win.' A Jason Jolly 3-pointer was off the mark for Fairmont, but the No. 1 seed got the rebound and called timeout with 1.2 seconds left. West Liberty (28-3) fouled prior to the inbound, putting D'Ondre Stockman (6'1''-G) at the line for two free throws. D'Ondre Stockman (6'1''-G) made the first and missed the second intentionally. Dennis got the rebound and flung the ball in the air as the horn sounded. 'West Liberty just made a few more plays,' said Fairmont coach Jerrod Calhoun , who is 3-12 against West Liberty and has not beaten the Hilltoppers outside of Fairmont. 'You don't sit around and feel sorry for yourself, but we also understand that. That's what drove us all year to win the regular season title, and this series isn't over. You just have to keep plugging away.' The Falcons forced West Liberty into a season-high 17 turnovers, but couldn't hold off the Hilltoppers - despite leading for the game's first 38:57. West Liberty had a combined 19 turnovers in their two regular season meetings. 'They have quick hands, put good pressure on,' Crutchfield said. 'I don't think there was a time when we could relax with the basketball, and that's unusual for us. But, with that pressure, the basket is exposed, their big guys are pulled away from the basket and driving lanes open.' 'Their intelligence factor is really high,' Calhoun said. 'They don't get too high or too low. Usually, we get teams down 10 or 11 we try to take it to 18 or 20. Unfortunately, we couldn't do that tonight.' Dennis led West Liberty with 23 points, while adding nine rebounds. Hoehn, the tournament MVP, had 18 points and Dan Monteroso added 10 points. Zac Grossenbacher (6'8''-F-94) had 11 of West Liberty's 45 rebounds. Bingaya's 18 led the way for Fairmont. Thomas Wimbush (6'7''-F) chipped in with 17, Vonte Montgomery (6'1''-G) had 10 and D'Ondre Stockman (6'1''-G) came off the bench to contribute 11. West Liberty and Fairmont State await the NCAA Tournament selection show to discover their seeds for the Atlantic Region Tournament, which will be played at the home of the region's top-seeded team. The top eight teams in each region earn a spot in the 64-team Division II field. The question remains who will host the regional. Top-ranked Fairmont, No. 2 Indiana University of Pennsylvania and No. 3 Kutztown lost - IUP and Kutztown lost in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament. West Liberty was No. 4. 'It would be good to play in a regional final … in Fairmont hopefully,' Calhoun said. Crutchfield said, 'our facility is available. We have people on standby who have done it before. Nobody hosts better than West Liberty guys do.' West Liberty seeks its eighth consecutive trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
MEC Tournament Final: West Liberty - Fairmont State 67-65 MEC Tournament Semifinals: West Liberty - Wheeling Jesuit 105-95 Fairmont State - Shepherd 93-65
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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