BROCKPORT, N.Y. - The Morrisville State College men’s basketball team is heading back to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament for a second straight year, ousting Liberty League Champion Hobart College with an 86-75 decision in the second round of tournament action held at Brockport.
The win is the fourth all-time for the Mustangs in NCAA tournament play, all posted in two years. They enter the next round with a 21-8 overall record, and will meet Richard Stockton on March 14, who pulled an 85-76 upset over Cabrini earlier tonight.
Senior Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) led the Morrisville State charge, posting 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor, adding four assists, while teammate Tom Wilk (Cortland, N.Y.) dominated the paint with 14 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight tournament double-double.
Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) posted 13 points, hitting 3-for-3 from long range, and Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) 11 points, adding four assists, as nine total Mustangs contributed to the win.
Richie Bonney led the Statesmen with 24 points, while three additional teammates posted double figures in the losing effort. Joe Gibbons had 19 and assisted another six, while Connor Rehbaum added 15 and four assists. Trey Blanding contributed 12 and had four assists.
Morrisville State, after finding its offensive fire during the marathon the night before, hit 56.0% from the floor on the night, and drained 7-of-11 from beyond the arc (63.6%) while going near perfect from the free throw line as they converted 23-of-24 attempts.
The Mustangs held a 42-35 lead at the break behind a 9-2 run over the final 3:13 of the opening half.
Hobart battled back and traded the lead with Morrisville State until the 13:52 mark when Ater hit a floater in the paint sparking a 9-3 Mustang run to regain a seven point lead with 9:08 to go.
Bonney got the Statesmen within two nailing a one from downtown, but Prior quickly responded with a tre of his own and hit another moments later giving the Mustangs an eight point cushion with just over five minutes to go.
Wilk gave the Mustangs a 10-point lead on the ensuing possession, but Hobart nailed another three, and added two free throws after a Morrisville State turnover to make it a five point game with 2:06 remaining.
Hobart forced Morrisville State to earn the win from the line in the final two minutes of the game, of which the Mustangs converted all 12 of their attempts to secure the win and advance to the next round.
The Mustangs bench came up big on the night, contributing 24 total points to the effort. Morrisville State dominated the glass, 36-19, capitalizing with 19 points on second chance opportunities.
Morrisville State is the second team in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) to reach the sectional round, the first in back-to-back seasons. This is the third time a conference team will appear in the Sweet 16 round in five years.