PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Morrisville State College Mustangs fought back from a late second period deficit, forced an extra frame, and topped host Rhode Island College with a thrilling 66-61 overtime victory to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament.
Morrisville State, for the second straight week, posts the upset to improve to 23-5 overall, and ends the Anchorman’s season (nationally ranked #13 by D3hoops.com) at 26-4.
Three tallied double figures for the Mustangs, led by junior forward Mickey Davis (Syracuse, N.Y.) with 17 points and nine rebounds on the night. Junior guard Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) posted the double-double, netting 12 points and leading the boards with 11 rebounds. Hanks also dished out six assists and collected four steals.
Junior guard Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) came off the bench to tally 14, including two crucial three’s in the final minute to force the overtime period.
Tom DeCiantis led the Rhode Island efforts, posting 13 points, while teammates Nyheem Sanders added 12 and Chris Burton 11. Tahrike Carter added 10 and collected 11 off the glass.
Morrisville State jumped out to an early 7-0 lead before the slow starting Anchorman got on the board nearly five minutes in and added five additional points to get back in the game.
Leading 17-11, Morrisville State went silent offensively, while Rhode Island capitalized on a couple turnovers to take their first lead of the contest, 18-17, with 4:02 to go in the opening period.
Davis sank one from long range to put the Mustangs back in front, and Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) added two from the free throw line in the final second of the period to send Morrisville State into the break with the 23-20 advantage.
A back and forth second half found the Mustangs trailing by five after a one-handed dunk by Rhode Island gave the Anchormen the 48-43 lead, but Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) converted two from the charity stripe to cut it to three with minutes to go on the clock.
With 1:03 remaining in regulation, DeCiantis sank a three for Rhode Island that increased the margin to six, but Prior countered with one of his own from the right wing to make it a three point game.
In dramatic fashion the Mustangs were fouled on a 3-point field goal attempt and sent to the line for three, but Morrisville State, who struggled from the free throw line all night, missed all three shots awarded, but regained possession as the ball went off the knee of a Rhode Island forward.
Off the inbounds, Kinsey hit Prior on the baseline who drained the game-tying long ball with 19 ticks left from the corner.
On the ensuing possession, Hanks attempted to loft one as time expired, but Burton rejected the shot to send the game into the overtime period.
In overtime, DeCiantis hit a three to give the hosts the two point advantage with 1:18 remaining on the clock, but Prior responded with a layup on the opposite end to tie the contest for the fifth time in the extra period.
With just under a minute to go, Burton drew a Davis foul and made the trip to the line for two, but missed both as Ater snagged the defensive board to regain possession for the Mustangs.
Prior was fouled on the ensuing possession for Morrisville State, and drained both of his shots to put the Mustangs up 60-58 with 45 seconds left on the clock. Hanks then forced an Anchorman turnover on the next possession, and fed Prior for the 2-on-1 fast break, giving Morrisville State the four point advantage.
Burton converted a three-point play with 22.9 seconds left to make it a one point game, but a foul sent Kinsey to the line where he sank both for the 64-61 Mustang lead.
RIC found DeCiantis open on the wing, but his attempt hit the back of the rim and was collected by Prior who was sent to the line with 1.9 ticks left, and he put down both to secure the win for the Mustangs.
Morrisville State shot 38 percent from the floor on the night, hitting 23-of-61 shots, and drained 8-of-16 from long range while the Anchormen converted 34.3 percent from the field (23-for-67) and just 5-of-24 from long range (20.8%).
The Mustangs won the battle on the boards, collecting 50 to RIC’s 41, leading to 21 second chance points.
Morrisville State advances to face St. Mary’s College in Maryland next Saturday. Game details will be released as they become available.