Saturday men: Rallies and buzzer-beaters

Randall Walko dunk
Randall Walko scored just five points, but he got the final two for TCNJ.
TCNJ athletics file photo by Jon Lambert

A top five battle came down to the final two seconds, Wooster rebounded its way past Ohio Wesleyan, Washington U. scored the final eight points of the game, TCNJ won at the buzzer and New Jersey City rallied from 20 points down in Saturday's Division III men's basketball action.

Brennan Wilt hit a jumper with two seconds left in the game and No. 3 UW-River Falls held on as David Sachs' attempted game-winner missed in the final second, allowing the Falcons to hold onto an 81-80 win on the road at No. 5 UW-Whitewater. The Falcons trailed 80-74 with 2:43 left when Sachs made a pair of free throws. But Alex Herink made a pair of foul shots to cut the lead to four, then Austin Moldenhauer hit a 3 with 1:49 left to cut the lead to 80-79. Meanwhile, in that stretch, the Warhawks got just one shot off and turned the ball over twice. Witt was unstoppable, hitting 13 of 16 shots en route to a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Falcons (10-2, 1-1 WIAC). Mitchell Pfeifer and Andre Brown scored 18 points apiece for the Warhawks, who fell to 11-2, 1-1.

No. 20 New Jersey City trailed by 20 in the first half, and by 12 with 5:39 to go at Rowan, but Sam Toney scored 36 points, 27 of them in the second half, to help the Gothic Knights avoid the upset with a 79-76 win. Toney was 3-for-4 from 3-point range, with all three backets coming within a 36-second span of the second half to cut the Profs' lead from 79-58 to 70-67.

TCNJ knocked off No. 19 Ramapo 66-64 at the buzzer on a walk-off runner by Randy Walko. TCNJ (10-3, 5-1 NJAC) led for much of the game and never trailed by more than a point. Eric Murdoch, Jr. paced the Lions with 19 points. Ramapo slips to 10-4, 6-1 in the NJAC, snapping an 11-game win streak against conference opponents.

Nate Axelrod had a game-high 30 points, but missed a shot that would have tied the game and No. 9 Ohio Wesleyan fell at home to Wooster, 73-70. The Scots had four players in double figures and overcame 60 percent free throw shooting to pull out the upset. Wooster, which won the rebounding battle 51-30, saw all nine players who entered the game record at least two rebounds. The Scots nearly matched the Bishops' rebounding total on the offensive end alone where Wooster had 21 boards compared to OWU's four.

WashU scored the final eight points of the game, including a pair of free throws by senior guard Jake Knupp with 6.1 seconds left, as the tenth-ranked Bears won their UAA opener, defeating Chicago 79-78. Knupp finished the game with 15 points and three assists, while freshman Jack Nolan scored all 16 of his points in the second half and senior forward Andrew Sanders had 16 points and nine rebounds.

Coe saw its second half lead whittled from 17 points to three in the final two minutes, but Wartburg could not get over the hump and the Kohawks (6-7, 2-2 IIAC) defeated the No. 18 Knights 69-65. Wartburg did most of its surge during a 15-4 run in the second half with a Nate Woeste putback cutting the deficit to 64-61. The teams traded 3-pointers to make it a 67-64 game with 2:05 left, but Wartburg went 0-for-3 from the floor with two turnovers down the stretch. Tommy Hook led Coe with a game-high 23 points, including 5-for-6 shooting from 3-point range. Jaran Sabus scored 18 and Woeste added 15 for the Knights (10-3, 3-1).

Emory maintained the momentum it built over the holidays in an 80-62 win over No. 22 Rochester. The Eagles forced 18 turnovers by Rochester (9-3, 0-1 UAA) and got 17 points and six rebounds from Adam Gigax. Emory (10-2, 1-0 UAA) has won six straight.

Emory and Henry continued its successful run against the other ODAC title contenders with an 89-83 victory over Virginia Wesleyan. John Shelor scored 23 points and Daniel Spencer added 22 more for the Wasps (12-1, 4-0 ODAC).

No. 15 MIT shook off a slow start and rallied past Coast Guard 74-65. The Bears led MIT 37-22 after shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half, but Cameron Korb and AJ Jurko combined for 31 points in the second half of the Engineers' victory. MIT was 9-for-14 from beyond the arc in the second half.

Western New England sophomore Mike Maguire hit a FT with one second on the clock to send the Bears' Commonwealth Coast Conference game at No. 21 Nichols into overtime and then junior Mikey Pettway hit a jumper with 1:09 to go in the extra period to put WNE (5-5, 2-3) ahead for good in a 100-94 win. Pettway led all scorers with 38 and had seven assists to knock off the conference favorite at home. Nichols (9-2, 3-1) had one of its worst shooting days of the season as the Bison only connected on 36.8 percent from the field, and 26.5 percent from 3-point range (9-for-34).

Catholic trimmed the list of unbeaten Division III men's teams by one with an 82-70 win at home over No. 23 Juniata. Jay Howard scored a career-high 33 points for the Cardinals, who had all 82 points scored by their starters. Brandon Martinazzi led Juniata (12-1, 1-1 Landmark) with 24 points. Lebanon Valley capped a very good week by beating Albright 78-70 on the road. Sam Light, who scored 27 points in LVC's victory over Lycoming on Wednesday night, scored 30 more on 10-for-17 shooting against the Lions.

Coming off its first loss of the season, No. 6 Lycoming led by as many as 30 points with five and a half minutes to go in the game before Stevenson surged to post a respectable 83-71 final. Chris Wallace scored a game-high 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting and added a game-high five steals to boot.

In a much-anticipated game in the NESCAC, No. 14 Wesleyan beat No. 4 Middlebury in Middletown, Connecticut, 80-70. Wesleyan led for most of the game, but the Panthers narrowed the gap in the final minutes, before the Cardinals prevailed. Jack Daly led Middlebury with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists. Nathan Krill paced a balanced Wesleyan attack with 14 points. 

Top-ranked Whitman had four players in double figures and got past Lewis & Clark 79-72. Tim Howell was 7-for-18 from the floor en route to a game-high 20. The Pioneers led briefly in the second half but the Blues went on an 11-2 run to get back in front.

St. Elizabeth won a shootout against New Rochelle 98-96 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Jason Saldiveri went for 43 points and 14 rebounds in the Eagles' win. Ohio Northern led Marietta 28-20 midway through the first half when a traffic accident knocked out power to the campus and the game was not resumed until 7 p.m. After that, Marietta (10-3, 4-2 OAC) outscored the Polar Bears 70-58 the rest of the way and won 90-86 behind 28 points from Kyle Dixon. Ryan Bruns scored a game-high 32 and Nate Burger added 25 for ONU (9-4, 4-2).

Brady Rose poured in 35 points on 10-for-17 shooting and Rose and Colin Bonnett each hit five 3-pointers as Illinois Wesleyan defeated Elmhurst 87-75. The Titans (11-3, 4-1 CCIW) scored 19 of the last 23 points of the game to come away with the win. Jeremy Ireland scored 22 to lead Elmhurst (9-4, 2-2).

Liam Jacobs' jumper with 37 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as Lasell overcame a 16-point second half deficit to notch a 96-93 GNAC men's basketball victory over Mount Ida. The host Lasers (4-7, 2-0 GNAC) trailed for the first 31-plus minutes, as the visiting Mustangs (7-4, 1-1) scored the first nine points of the contest and built a 16-point first half advantage.

More men's wrapup will follow.