Great finishes in the Great Lakes

Sam Borst-Smith and Rochester are one win away from their fifth trip to the Division III men's basketball national semifinals.
Photo by Nate Knobel, Marietta athletics 

Friday night's late game heroics at Hope and Marietta will lead to empty gyms on Saturday night as Hanover and Rochester eliminated the Flying Dutchmen and Pioneers in front of capacity crowds.

Hanover's Wes McKinney sent Hope's crowd home stunned as the junior forward drained a long jumper at the buzzer to lift the Panthers over Hope, 79-77. Hope took the lead 77-75 on a pair of free throws by Harrison Blackledge with 27 seconds left. Hanover brought the ball up court, ran the clock down and then gave it to McKinney, who missed a runner, but Corey Muchmore tipped home the miss with two seconds left. Hope failed to inbound the ball, as Cody Stuive's inbounds pass was deflected back to him and he caught it before re-establishing himself inbounds. That allowed Hanover to draw up the game-winning play.

McKninney finished with 28 points, including 18 in the second half. Muchmore added 20 for Hanover (25-3) which will play Augustana in the sectional final on Saturday evening. Dante Hawkins scored 28 points or Hope (23-6).

Rochester scored five points in the final 30 seconds to close out Marietta 85-80 in front of a full house at Ban Johnson Arena. Marietta tied the game at 80 on back-to-back baskets by RaNeal Ewing. After both teams missed free throws, Rochester's Ryan Clamage grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed three and scored a layup to put the Yellowjackets ahead by two. Marietta missed a shot on its next possession and Mack Montague added three free throws to finish off Rochester's victory.

Montague led Rochester (24-4) with 27 points, including six 3-pointers, while A.J. Edwards and Ewing scored 22 points apiece for Marietta (26-5).

Tim Howell scored 28 points in 28 minutes for Whitman in the Blues' victory over Hardin-Simmons.
Photo by Nate Knobel, Marietta athletics 

No. 1 Whitman jumped out to a big lead, watched it disappear and then pulled away from Hardin-Simmons, 102-82. Playing far away from home, the top-ranked Blues didn't show any signs of jet lag early. Tim Howell's jump shot midway through the first half staked Whitman to a 36-18 lead and the Blues led by 10 at the break. Hardin-Simmons opened the second half on a 10-1 run to pull even at 51. Midway through the second half Whitman ripped off a 16-4 run to put the game out of reach.

Whitman shot 51 percent (40-for-78) despite making just five of its 19 three-point attempts. Howell paced the Blues (30-0) with 28 points, five rebounds and four assists. Justin Jones notched 22 points and 12 rebounds for Hardin-Simmons (24-7).

Augustana wore down Wartburg in the second half and eliminated the Knights, 80-69. For the third game in a row, Wartburg shot at least 50 percent in the first half. The Knights hit four of six 3-point attempts but led by only three after Chrishawn Orange drained a deep three for Augustana at the halftime buzzer.

In the second half Augustana used its size and crisp passing to pick apart the Knights' matchup zone defense. The Vikings shot 58 percent in the second half with Orange scoring 10 and Brett Benning nine. Micah Martin added 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for Augustana (22-8), which advanced to the sectional finals for the third consecutive year. Jordan Cannon led Wartburg (21-10) with 17 points.

The Northeast region had six teams in the round of 16 and the only two that lost fell to other Northeast teams.

Keene State shot 19-for-22 from the free throw line in the second half while Christopher Newport shot 2-for-12 and that was the difference, as the Owls upset Christopher Newport, 68-64. Trailing 48-40, Keene State went on a 11-2 run and the game stayed close the rest of the way. After Rayshard Brown's three-pointer gave the Captains a 61-60 lead with 2:27 to play, Jeff Lunn answered with a layup, Ty Nichols followed with a jump shot and Lucas Hammel added two free throws to put the Owls in front for good. 

Keene State (22-9) becomes the first Little East team to advance to the sectional finals since Rhode Island College beat the Owls to reach that point in 2007. Marcus Carter scored 16 for Christopher Newport (27-3).

Joey Flannery scored 38 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Babson's 87-80 victory over Tufts. The Beavers, who only used six players until the game was decided, outscored the Jumbos 42-30 in the paint. Isaiah Nelson added 22 points for Babson (28-2), which will play Keene State tomorrow.

The other two NESCAC teams advanced easily. Williams turned 14 Susquehanna turnovers into 24 points and the Ephs knocked out the River Hawks, 78-61. Kyle Scadlock had 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for Williams (22-8). Middlebury avenged its only home loss of the season with a flourish as the Panthers pummeled Endicott, 89-60. Matt St. Amour scored 21 points in 30 minutes for Middlebury and Endicott attempted just two free throws. Those two teams will play each other tomorrow night in a rematch of the NESCAC tournament title game.