Nichols Comes Back to Claim First-Ever CCC Men's Basketball Championship - Feb 26, 2017
Sophomore Marcos Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) (Lynn, Mass.) sank a three-pointer with 13 seconds to go to propel the Nichols College men's basketball team to its first-ever Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship with a 67-64 win over Endicott College Saturday afternoon at the Nichols Athletic Center.
Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) scored the final eight points of the contest as the Bison scored the final 10 points of the game to turn a 64-57 deficit into a three-point win. The win sends the Bison - the No. 1 seed in the CCC Tournament four-straight years- to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Head coach Tom Glynn and his team will find out where the team is heading Monday at 12:30 p.m. when the NCAA Selection show begins.
Nichols freshman Jerome Cunningham (6'8''-F) (Westbury, N.Y.) recorded his fifth-straight double-double as he filled the stat sheet with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. Classmate Deante Bruton (6'0''-PG) (New London, Conn.) was the third student-athlete for Nichols in double-figures as he netted 12 points.
Seniors Kamahl Walker (5'11''-PG) (Worcester, Mass.) and Max Motroni (5'10''-PG) (West Warwick, R.I.) each scored 16 points to pace the two-time defending champion Gulls. Motroni also snared a team-high 11 rebounds while senior Stephen Basden (6'3''-G) (Lynn, Mass.) collected 10 rebounds to go with seven points. Endicott made 41 percent of its shots - including 7-of-29 from downtown.
Senior Chris Lipscomb (6'2''-F) (West Springfield, Mass.) gave the Gulls a seven-point lead at 64-57 when he knocked down his second 3-pointer of the afternoon at 1:41. Cunningham made two free throws at the other end to bring Nichols to within five points at 64-59. Following an Endicott turnover, Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) banged his fourth 3-pointer to make it a one possession game (64-62) with 40 ticks on the clock.
The Gulls were they whistled for a five second violation, giving the Bison an opportunity to tie or take the lead. Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) took a pass from Bruton and juked Walker, stepped back and sank a three with 13 seconds remaining.
Out of a timeout, Walker missed a layup on the ensuing possession and Endicott was forced to foul, which sent Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) to the free throw line - the same free throw line he missed from with a chance to force overtime in the CCC Semifinal round against Endicott last season. The CCC Player of the Year stepped up and sank both before Walker's shot from half court fell short.
The first half was filled with runs, starting with a 13-2 NC run to open the contest as Bruton rattled home two 3-pointers and senior Devin Stallings (6'4''-F) (Waterbury, Conn.) made two baskets. The Gulls answered with a 13-2 run of their own to tie the game at 15 as Motroni scored five points. Nichols responded with a 12-0 run to grab a 27-15 lead, sparked by two triples from freshman Tyler Dion (5'10''-PG) (Barre, Mass.).
Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) canned a three as time expired in the first half to send the Bison to the locker room with an 11-point lead at 40-29. Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG) led all scorers with 10 points (4-of-12 field goals) while Dion had nine. Walked led the visitors with eight points.
Endicott opened the second half by scoring the first 10 points to cut its deficit to one at 40-39. Motroni converted a layup midway through the half to tie the game at 48 before a layup from Walker with 7:44 remaining gave the Gulls their first lead of the contest. They carried the lead until Marcos Echevarria (5'10''-PG)'s late game heroics.
Nichols finished the contest 11-of-41 from three-point land (27 percent) and shot just 33 percent for the game, but scored 23 points off 12 EC turnovers while committing just six of their own. The Gulls shot 41 percent and out rebounded the Bison 47-41.
CCC Tournament Final: Nichols - Endicott 67-64
CCC Tournament Semifinals:
Nichols - Wentworth 83-74
Endicott - Eastern Nazarene 84-66
Courtesy of CCC Athletics