Hill nets team best 27 points in NCAA DIII second round setback
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Fitchburg State men's basketball team fell to the Wildcats of Johnson and Wales University, 86-74 in second round action of the 2016 NCAA DIII Men's Basketball Championship Tournament this evening at Memorial Hall on the campus of Plattsburgh State.
Johnson and Wales opened the contest with an early 6-0 lead on a pair of three pointers from senior Tom Garrick, but the Falcons responded with a layup by junior Jaleel Bell and jumpers from seniors Kwame Lee and Givaughn Jones to make the score 8-6 three minutes into the game.
Following a bucket by junior Lance Hill, the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run as Garrick knocked down a trey and a jumper, while senior Quarry Greenaway added a three pointer for the 24-15 advantage. Johnson and Wales extended its margin (38-21) with a 14-3 stretch with Greenaway leading the charge with nine of his 18 first half points, while Garrick and sophomore Jarell Lawson added one basket each.
Fitchburg State continued to battle, reducing the Wildcats lead to seven (44-37) after a Lance Hill trey, before Johnson and Wales closed out the half with jumpers from senior Robert Lewis and classmate Clayton Roker to take a 48-37 lead into halftime.
After the break, the Green and Gold chipped away at the deficit as Hill buried a three pointer before Jones and junior Troy DaCosta converted jumpers to make the score 50-44. Midway through the second half the two teams traded three pointers with Hill draining his second three ball of the frame followed by a Roker trey (57-49).
The Falcons slowly cut into the Wildcats lead on four free throws by Hill and a bucket from Lee (70-65) with just over four minutes remaining in the contest. With the score 80-71, Fitchburg State made one final push as Bell sank a pair of shots from the charity stripe before Roker answered with a pair of free throws of his own, resulting in the 86-74 final.
In the contest, Fitchburg State shot 26-for-64 (40.6%) from the field, including 30.8% (4-of-13) from beyond the arc, while the Wildcats finished 26-of-66 (39.4%) overall and 9-for-23 (39.1%) from three point range. Johnson and Wales also controlled the glass, holding a 49-34 advantage on the glass, including a 19-10 margin on the offensive end.
Hill led the way for the Falcons offensively, netting a team-best 27 points, five rebounds and one steal, while Bell added 15 points, five caroms, five steals and one block. Jones was also solid for the Green and Gold with 12 points, eight boards and five assists. For Johnson and Wales, Greenaway registered a double-double of 30 points and 17 boards as well as two assists, one block and four steals, while Garrick (25) and Roker (13) also reached double figures for the Wildcats.
Fitchburg State concludes it's 2015-16 season with an overall record of 19-10 and 9-3 mark in the MASCAC, while Johnson and Wales University (28-2, 17-1 GNAC) advances to the round of 16 and will take on the Tufts next weekend at a date and time to be determined.