LANCASTER, Pa. – The Morrisville State College men's basketball team will be playing for the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) title Sunday afternoon for a sixth time, after handing SUNY Polytechnic the 69-63 loss in the semi-final round held at Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pa.
The Mustangs improve to 19-8 overall on the season and will meet Lancaster Bible College for the third consecutive time in the NEAC finals. The Chargers defeated Wilson College in the first of the day's semi-finals to advance to the final round, and have yet to see Morrisville State during the season slate.
Lancaster Bible won the first meeting in the post-season in 2015-16, before Morrisville State avenged the loss with a win, 70-63, the following season in the finals.
Sophomore Kevin Dennis (Bronx, N.Y.) led the Mustangs with a team high 20 points, adding 16 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the year, while teammate Brison Hall (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 14 in the win.
Derek Beames (Otego, N.Y.) also registered a double-double for Morrisville State, netting 11 off the bench to add to his 10 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass.
SUNY Polytechnic had a great effort from NEAC Player of the Year Kevin Williams, who collected 23 points and seven rebounds. Redell Freeman was the lone other Wildcat to post double figures, netting 15, in the loss.
Morrisville State fought back from a seven-point deficit with 3:08 to go in the first half, going on an 8-2 run to close the gap to one at the half, 33-32.
The Mustangs carried momentum into the second half, where they raced out to a 10-point lead behind three-straight from behind the arc, two from Ward and another from Miller.
That margin was short lived, though, as Poly closed the gap to two and maintained within striking distance within the final two minutes, but power play by Dennis in the paint gave the higher seed a four-point gap; and later a fast break layup by Hall with eight seconds remaining in the game sealed the win for the Mustangs.
Morrisville State's second half comeback was fueled by a near 52% shooting effort from the floor in the second. Altogether on the afternoon, they shot 45.6% on 26-of-57 shots, and outgained the Wildcats 39-to-24 on the glass for the win, including a dominating 14-4 edge in offensive rebounds.
Tip-off for tomorrow's championship final is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Lancaster. The winner will receive the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament.
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 & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.