NCAA Bound! Fisher Wins Empire 8 - Feb 27, 2017
The top-seeded St. John Fisher College men's basketball team won the Empire 8 Championship on Saturday as the Cardinals, who are receiving votes in the latest D3hoops.com poll, defeated second-seeded Stevens Institute of Technology, 80-69, to earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship. Fisher, which has won 10 straight games, will find out who it will face in opening round action during the NCAA Selection show, which is scheduled to air 12:30 p.m. on Monday at NCAA.com. The Cardinals, who have now won eight Empire 8 Championships since 2000, moved to 22-5 with the win while Stevens fell to 19-8 with the loss.
Tyler English (6'4''-G-96) was named the Championship's Most Outstanding Player after leading Fisher with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor. The junior guard posted five rebounds, three assists and came up with one steal overall. Alex Sausville (6'0''-PG) finished with 13 points and three boards while senior Keegan Ryan (6'8''-F/C-94) added 12 points and eight rebounds of his own. Sammy Robinson (6'5''-G) scored 11 points - all of which came in the first half - and Ryan Henderson (6'5''-G/F) contributed nine points including a pair of clutch free throws in the final minutes along with six rebounds.
As a team, Fisher outrebounded the Ducks, 41-34, and shot 23-of-30 overall from the line.
The first half was a see-saw affair as neither team was able to gain a comfortable advantage. Stevens jumped out to an early lead with two baskets inside, but the Cardinals used a 7-2 run highlighted by four points from English over the next 1:26 to gain their footing and a 7-6 lead.16167
Stevens stole the lead right back with a corner 3-pointer and held the edge for nearly five minutes until Robinson tied the game at 15-15 with a deep 3-pointer from the wing. The lead would change sides seven more times as the half wore on until a pair of free throws by the Ducks put them ahead with 3:08 still showing on the clock. Fisher would cut the visitors' lead to two points as Ryan connected on a pair from the charity stripe, but a turnover by the Cardinals deep in their defensive end allowed Stevens to score a final-second layup to hold a four-point edge at the break, 42-38.
English got the ball rolling in the second half with two quick baskets to tie the game at 42-42, but Stevens buried back-to-back shots from distance to reclaim a six-point hold. The momentum would swing again, this time in Fisher's favor, as the Cardinals reeled off eight unanswered points capped by a Ryan layup to go up by two, 50-48, with 15:29 left to play.
Both teams continued to battle down the stretch. Holding a one-point lead, 57-56, with under 10 minutes to go, Fisher saw its lead turn into a deficit as Stevens scored five straight points to take a four-point edge. The Cardinals countered with six straight points of their own, but the lead wouldn't hold as the Ducks went up by two with 2:47 remaining.
Trailing by two, Sausville drove to the hole and scored the game-tying layup, which in turn ignited a 12-0 run by Fisher in which head coach Rob Kornaker 's squad was perfect from the free throw line, making all eight attempts to take a double-digit lead, 75-65, with just 18 seconds showing on the game clock. Stevens cut the lead to eight with a quick transition bucket, but it was too little too late as the Cardinals overcame the second half deficit en route to the conference crown.
Courtesy of Empire8
Empire8 Tournament Final: St. John Fisher - Stevens Institute of Technology 80-69
Empire8 Tournament Semifinals:
St. John Fisher - Nazareth 76-69
Stevens Institute of Technology - Utica College 79-71