Bloomfield Captures 2016-17 CACC Championship - Mar 6, 2017
Bloomfield College men's basketball is at the top of the mountain in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) once again. The top-seed from the North defeated Dominican College (North #2), 69-56, in the CACC Championship Final on Sunday afternoon at Newman Gymnasium in Caldwell, N.J. Marcus Fleming (5'10''-PG), who was named the most valuable player of the tournament, logged a game-best 21 points, while grabbing seven rebounds, swiping seven steals and dishing out four assists to lead the Bears to the program's first CACC title since 2013. Bloomfield ran its record to 22-9 overall and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament next week at a site to be determined. The announcement of the regional bracket will be made on Sunday night at NCAA.com (.) Dominican, which was led by Daniel Grant (6'0''-PG)'s 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block, closed out its season with a solid 19-12 record. The Chargers knocked off two of the top-three seeds from the South Division to reach the championship final, including No. 1 seed Philadelphia University in the semifinals on Saturday.
MVP: Fleming was outstanding throughout all three rounds of the tournament, but especially in the championship final. He scored seven-consecutive points for the Bears to stake Bloomfield to a 23-13 lead with 4:51 left in the first half. He ignited his own mini-run with a pair of free throws, then hit a driving layup and finally bombed in a deep three that put Bloomfield in front to stay, as it built a 31-23 lead at halftime. Fleming was also a force on the defensive end all tournament, helping Bloomfield yield an average of just 61.6 points per game.
STAIRWAY TO SEVEN: The victory marked Bloomfield's seventh CACC Championship under head coach Gerald Holmes, and the first since 2013, as that year capped a run of three straight for the head man and the program. Bloomfield has reached the CACC summit in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Notice a trend? CACC titles seem to come in three's for Holmes and Bloomfield, and the program loses just two seniors off this year's squad. Plus, the Bears will benefit from the return of both Nick Davidson (First-Team All-CACC) and Fleming (Third-Team All-CACC) next season.
NOTHING TO HANG YOUR HEADS ABOUT: Despite the loss, this year was a terrific season for head coach Joseph Clinton and his Chargers. The coaching staff knew it was going to have a young team this season and started three freshmen for most of it. Despite the youth, Dominican played hard and got better as the season went along, eventually putting together 19 wins and an inspiring run to the CACC final. Dominican also came into the season with a heavy heart following the sudden death of assistant coach and athletic department staff member Michael Coffey, but the Chargers played inspired ball all season long in his memory.
NOT TO BE OUTDONE: Several other players stepped up for Bloomfield on the afternoon. Rakwan Kelly (6'4''-F-94) had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Davidson put in 11 and collected five boards. Dominican received 12 points from Gerrel Irvin.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: Bloomfield helped its chances of walking away with the CACC trophy by committing just eight turnovers for the game. That led to Dominican getting just a solo point off of Bloomfield's minimal miscues. Bloomfield forced the Chargers into 15 turnovers and netted 17 points off of those.
UP NEXT: As stated above, Bloomfield is off to the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament, and will find out who it will be playing in next Saturday's first round. The tournament site and official bracket will be announced Sunday night on NCAA.com (.) It will be the program's seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament under Holmes.
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