Taylor Montero (6'4''-G) and Ryan Saarela (6'6''-F) made sure their final college basketball games were memorable ones. The St. Thomas senior forward and center combined for 53 points and 21 boards and propelled N. 8-ranked Tommies to an NCAA Division III championship with Saturday's 82-76 win over previously-unbeaten Benedictine (Ill.) in Salem, Va. The Tommies (30-3) won their second national crown in six years but first under fifth-year head coach John Tauer. UST built a double-digit lead in each of their contests during a 6-0 run through the Division III playoffs. St. Thomas eliminated the Nos. 18, 11, 1, 4 and 2 ranked teams over the last 15 days. In Saturday's victory, St. Thomas sank 50 percent from the floor, had only seven turnovers, knocked down 27 of 36 free throws and had a 36-32 rebunding edge. That offset Benedictine's 24-3 advantage in 3-point scoring. Taylor Montero scored a season-high 27 points -- one off his career high -- and added 11 rebounds while logging 37 minutes. Ryan Saarela's 26 points were his career high, and he added 10 rebounds for his 13th double double of the season. UST went 23-0 in games this season when Saarela scored in double figures. Junior guard Grant Shaeffer (6'0''-PG) added 14 points and played all 40 minutes. The Tommies led 37-32 at halftime and built the advantage to 12 points during the second half. Benedictine (31-1) pulled as close as 73-71 with 1:33 to go on Lucas Johnson (6'7''-F)'s dunk. Montero answered at the other end with a layup, then rebounded a missed BU shot. UST sank 7-of-10 free throws in the final 42 seconds to secure the NCAA title. St. Thomas made only three field goals in the last 8:30 but held off Benedictine with nine points at the foul line. Johnson led Benedictine with 21 points and 11 boatds. BU, playing in its first Final Four, shot 48 percent from the floor and had only 10 turnovers. The victory is St. Thomas' 17th national team championship and second in men's hoops. In the 2000s alone (last 17 seasons), St. Thomas has two NCAA crowns each in the sports of men's basketball, baseball and softball, plus one in volleyball. Courtesy of: d3hoops.com
Player of the Year: Joey Flannery (6'5''-G) of Babson Rookie of the Year: Jake Ross (6'4''-G) of Springfield Coach of the Year: Jeff Brown of Middlebury 1st Team Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) of Nichols Joey Flannery of Babson Matt St.Amour (6'3''-G) of Middlebury Hugh Lindo (6'4''-F-94) of Eastern Connecticut Edward Ogundeko (6'5''-C/F) of Trinity (Conn.) 2nd Team Raheem Anderson (6'1''-G) of Husson Daniel Aronowitz (6'5''-G) of Williams Jake Ross of Springfield Matt Ozzella (6'4''-G/F... [read more]
Player of the Year: Joey Flannery (6'5''-G) of Babson College of Babson Rookie of the Year: Jake Ross (6'4''-G) of Springfield Co-Coach of the Year: Eric Bridgeland of Whitman and Grey Giovanine of Augustana 1st Team Tahron Harvey (6'3''-G) of Benedictine University of Benedictine Ty Sabin (6'2''-G) of Ripon College of Ripon Joey Flannery of Babson Harrison Blackledge (6'6''-F) of Hope College, MI of Hope Jordan Robinson (6'3''-F) of North Park University of North Park 2nd Team Samuel B... [read more]
Joey Flannery (6'5''-G) blocked a potential game-winning shot with three seconds left and Babson held off Augustana 79-78 to win the 2017 Division III men's basketball championship. As Augustana did in Friday's semifinal, the Vikings opened the game with hot shooting and built a 10-point lead on Dylan Sortillo's three-pointer midway through the first period. Nick Comenale (6'3''-F) sparked a 25-5 run for Babson with a pair of three pointers and a layup and the Beavers took a 41-31 lead in... [read more]
Joey Flannery (6'5''-G) blocked a potential game-winning shot with three seconds left and Babson held off Augustana 79-78 to win the 2017 Division III men's basketball championship. As Augustana did in Friday's semifinal, the Vikings opened the game with hot shooting and built a 10-point lead on Dylan Sortillo's three-pointer midway through the first period. Nick Comenale (6'3''-F) sparked a 25-5 run for Babson with a pair of three pointers and a layup and the Beavers took a 41-31 lead into the half. Babson held Augustana at arm's length for much of the second half and led 71-61 with six minutes to play when the Vikings started their rally. Nolan Ebel (6'1''-G) hit a three-pointer with less than three minutes left to pull the Vikings within four at 79-75. After a couple of empty possessions for both teams, Augustana fouled Babson with 21 seconds left, sending the Beavers to the free throw line for one-and one. They missed the first shot and Augustana grabbed the rebound and found Jacob Johnston for three to cut the lead to 79-78 with 10 seconds left. Babson again missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Vikings gave the ball to Ebel who raced down the floor. Ebel tried to arc a shot over three Babson defenders with three seconds left but Flannery smacked the ball away. Babson grabbed the rebound and was fouled with one second left. Babson missed the one-and-one again but, after an Augustana time out, the Vikings only had time for a long heave down the floor that was deflected away. Flannery finished with 23 points, which gives him 2,620 in his career, good enough for eighth place all-time in Division III. Isaiah Nelsen scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half and Comenale finished with 16 points for Babson. Ebel notched 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Augustana (24-9). Augustana finishes as national runner-up for the second time in three seasons. Babson's championship is the first men's basketball title for the College and the fifth overall in team sports. Babson won three titles in men's soccer in 1975, 1979 and 1980 and a men's hockey championship in 1984. Flannery, who was named Player of the Year before the game, took home the Most Oustanding Player award. The other members of the All-Tournament team were Nelsen, Ebel, Chrishawn Orange (6'2''-G) for Augustana and Daniel Aronowitz (6'5''-G) for Williams. Before the title game, the East All-Stars defeated the West All-Stars 139-116 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Reece's Division III All-Star Game. Courtesy of: d3hoops.com
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