Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y. / Jamesville-DeWitt) earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award following his weekend performance of 29 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals, including 21 in the championship against Wells.
Junior forward Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y. / Bishop Grimes) throws down a fast break dunk. (Photos by Steve Samoyedny)
By Brandy Thurston, Director of Sports Information
(Morrisville, NY – Feb. 24, 2013) Top ranked Morrisville State College built up a 16 point lead in the first half and withstood a ferocious Express comeback in the second, to capture their second straight North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament Title by a narrow 74-72 margin over Wells College Sunday afternoon in Morrisville.
The Mustangs (21-5, 13-2 NEAC) earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament for a second consecutive year and will await tournament seeding as the NCAA selection show takes place Monday at 12:30 p.m. at www.NCAA.com.
Wells College ends the season with a 13-14 overall record, an 8-7 mark against conference opponents.
Morrisville State had four post double figures, led by Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) who tallied a team high 21 points on 8-of-10 shots from the floor, while adding three assists and a steal to his tallies. Kinsey was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) posted 18 for the Mustangs, assisting three and stealing three others, while teammate Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 15 off the bench, while snagging five rebounds and assisting three. Mickey Davis (Syracuse, N.Y.) rounded out the leader board with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) dished out a team high seven assists, while Rhamel Williams (Bronx, N.Y.) also collected six boards.
Al Paul (Elmont, N.Y.) posted a best 25 points in the Wells efforts, hitting 11-of-13 from the charity stripe, while collecting eight off the glass. EJ Taylor (Tampa Bay, Fla.) tallied 24, hitting six from long range, as Jonathan Bonds (Chicago, Ill.) snared a team best 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, to go along with his eight points and three assists.
JJ Walton (Ocala, Fla.) registered seven assists.
Both teams battled back and forth through the opening four minutes, before a three by Davis at 15:32 put the Mustangs ahead by two, a lead that wasn’t relinquished for the remainder of the contest.
Up by six with 12:28 to go in the opening stanza, Taylor cut the Mustang lead to three, nailing one from long range, but Morrisville State responded with an 8-0 run to increase the margin to 11 midway through the half.
Wells climbed back to within eight, but Kinsey regained the 11 point lead for the Mustangs, draining one from beyond the arc, and Morrisville State took advantage of the fast break, building up a 44-27 advantage at intermission.
In the second, Morrisville State increased the lead to as many as 18, but the Express put together a 12-0 run over a three minute span, behind a Taylor andPaul offensive attack, to narrow the deficit to just six with 10:55 to go.
After regaining an 11 point lead, Taylor hit one from long range to make it an eight point game and Paul followed, converting 7-of-8 from the free throw line and hitting a layup to bring Wells to within five with 3:50 to go.
Walton hit two from the free throw line to make it a three point game with 3:21 remaining, but Ater regained the five point advantage with a jumper for Morrisville State on the ensuing trip down the floor.
With 1:01 remaining in regulation, Taylor buried two of three from the line to make it a 73-70 game in favor of the Mustangs. With 12 seconds to go, he added two more from the charity strip to his tallies on the day, bringing the crowd to the edge of their seats as nine ticks remained on the clock and Morrisville State holding a 73-72 lead.
A hold by Bonds sent Kinsey to the line, who missed the front end of the two shot foul, but buried the second to make it a 74-72 game.
Wells got one last chance in the closing seconds, but the Mustangs defense forced Taylor to throw up an off balance shot that clanged off the rim as time expired.
Morrisville State shot 48.3 percent from the floor on the day, and converted 11-of-16 shots from the free throw line, as Wells hit 38.6 percent of shots from the floor, and 20-of-25 from the charity stripe (80.0%).
Wells controlled the boards, holding the 41-29 advantage, including 18-9 margin on the offensive glass and out scored the Mustangs 45-30 in the second half, but Morrisville State forced 18 Express turnovers, collecting 23 points off of Wells miscues.