WASHINGTON, D.C. – Morrisville State College men's basketball will be returning to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament in 2016-17, after claiming the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) title with a 70-63 defeat of Lancaster Bible College Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C.
The Mustangs (22-6) will await their next opponent as announced on the NCAA Division III selection show, scheduled to air on www.ncaa.com tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Morrisville State will be making the program's fourth overall appearance in the tournament, and will do so riding an 11 game win streak into the opening round.
Freshman Kevin Dennis (Bronx, N.Y.) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player following his overall tournament performance which included a 23-point, 19 rebound performance in the final round against the Chargers, hitting 11-of-16 from the floor.
The rematch of last year's championship final remained close throughout the contest, with Morrisville State claiming the largest lead of the first half, a 10-point advantage with 5:40 to go in the opening period.
That lead was short-lived however, as Lancaster Bible closed the gap to three, with an 8-2 run with 2:35 to go in the first.
After a three from Ward with 1:28 showing on the clock, the Chargers Herbie Brown hit the jumper with 17 seconds to go to head into the half with a 35-31 Morrisville State lead.
Evenly matched throughout the first 20, Morrisville State remained in front of Lancaster Bible until the 11:27 mark with a three by Luke Beers gave the Chargers their first and only advantage of the contest.
Back-to-back layups by Bonaparte regained the lead for the Mustangs, who put together an 8-0 spurt – all scores off the hand on Bonaparte – as they regained the seven point advantage with 7:36 to go.
Morrisville State increased their lead to 11 with just under two minutes remaining in the period, but an 8-0 Lancaster Bible burst cut the lead to four with 57 ticks to go in the contest.
The Mustangs made it a two-possession game with 37 showing on the clock, as Daley hit Dennis in the paint for the bucket, and the freshman followed with a free throw with six seconds to go to put the game out of reach for the Chargers as Morrisville State collected their fourth title win.
Morrisville State outscored the Chargers 20-12 in the paint in the second half, holding the 30-22 advantage throughout the contest, while getting 29 points in bench scoring to contribute to the victory.
The Mustangs hit 26-of-54 shots from the floor (48.1%), holding Lancaster Bible to a game low 30.3% that included a 9-for-32 effort in the second half.
Morrisville State will learn its first round opponent tomorrow, making a fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, its first since the Elite Eight run in 2013-14.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2016 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2016 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.