Saturday men: Underdogs bite back

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Widener big man Sardayah Sambo blocked seven shots for the second time this season and fourth time in his career.
File photo by Widener University athletics

Two teams well outside their conferences' playoff picture registered upsets that will shape those races as Widener upset No. 9 Lycoming and Millikin dumped Wheaton (Ill.)

Widener, which was 2-7 in the MAC Commonwealth entering the day, used a 23-7 run midway through the second half to build a lead on Lycoming and survived two shots in the final three seconds to stun the Warriors, 66-65. Widener's run put the Pride in front 64-55 with under two minutes remaining, but Lycoming rallied all the back within one point. The Warriors had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line, missed the shot and then missed an off-balance three at the buzzer. Box score

Connor Laverty scored eight points during the game-deciding run and 12 in the game for the Pride (10-9, 3-7) who sit 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot. Lycoming slips to 18-2, 9-2 and has its lead over Lebanon Valley cut to one game.

Millikin, which had one win in the CCIW this year and one last year, scored 51 points in the second half and the Big Blue pulled away from Wheaton (Ill.), 94-75. Millkin (9-10, 2-8) shot 64 percent in the second half with Zach Fisher scoring 27 points. The Thunder (13-6, 6-4) shot 7-for-29 from three with All-American Aston Francis going 2-for-13 from behind the arc.

No. 5 Augustana continued its search for consistency, as the Vikings followed Wednesday's win over Wheaton (Ill.) with a loss at home to Carthage, 81-78. Brad Kruse scored 20 points for the Red Men (10-7, 5-3) who shot 23-for-26 from the foul line. No. 18 Illinois Wesleyan extended its lead over Augustana and North Central (Ill.) by crushing North Park, 87-47. North Central beat Elmhurst 87-74 on a night when Connor Raridon set a program record for assists in a season and a career.

No. 6 St. John's stayed perfect in the MIAC by outlasting Bethel 84-80 in overtime. All-American David Stokman scored all seven of the Johnnies' points in overtime and 25 in the game. No. 3 Wittenberg stayed perfect period, as the Tigers took care of Denison 84-61. So did No. 1 Whitman which followed up its 136-point outburst on Friday night by going over the century mark in a 111-77 victory over Pacific Lutheran. The Blues have won 34 straight in the NWC, setting a new conference record.

No. 19 UW-Oshkosh capped a very good week with a 78-57 win at No. 20 UW-River Falls. Alex Herink scored 27 points for the Falcons (13-5, 4-4), but the other River Falls starters combined for only 21. The Titans (15-4, 5-3) shot 51 percent from the field and 81 percent from the foul line in their victory. UW-Stevens Point bounced back from Wednesday's loss to Oshkosh with a 76-62 win over UW-La Crosse. Canon O'Heron scored 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting for the Pointers (13-6, 7-1).

The churn atop the OAC standings continues. One week after John Carroll beat Marietta to claim a share of first in the OAC, the teams reversed fortunes Saturday afternoon. No. 23 John Carroll stumbled at Muskingum 112-103 as Marcus Dempsey poured in 39 points and Devon Peart added 34 more for the Muskies. No. 24 Marietta sent No. 25 Baldwin Wallace to its second loss of the week, topping the Yellow Jackets 65-52.

In the NESCAC No. 16 Hamilton needed overtime to beat Colby 76-67 and avoid a lost weekend in Maine. Matt Hanna made two free throws to tie the game for Colby (10-9, 1-5) with nine seconds left, but Jack Dwyer scored six points in the extra period for the Continentals (17-2, 4-2). No. 14 Wesleyan held Tufts to 29 percent shooting (21-for-72) and got a double-double from JR Bascon (10 points, 10 rebounds) in a 60-52 win over the Jumbos.

Recap continues below

Robert Gordon scored 14 points as part of New Jersey City's 27-3 bench scoring advantage over TCNJ.
File photo by Larry Levanti

New Jersey City edged TCNJ 80-79 to split the two games between the NJAC title contenders. The Lions trailed the Gothic Knights 80-78 with seven seconds remaining when Eric Murdock, Jr. was fouled. Murdock made the first but missed the second and New Jersey City ran out the clock. Sam Toney scored 21 points for the Gothic Knights (16-4, 10-3) who sit one game behind Ramapo and TCNJ in the NJAC standings.

DeSales edged Eastern 71-70 on Connor Jones' jumper with 5.9 seconds left and stayed one game back of Wilkes in the MAC Freedom standings.

The three teams tied atop the HCAC standings each won nailbiters on Saturday. Jordan Henry canned a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to lift Mount St. Joseph over Manchester 74-73. Despite committing 25 turnovers, Rose-Hulman held on to beat Transylvania, 70-69. Cam Fails scored a career-high 29 points including a game-winning layup at the buzzer for Hanover in its 71-70 win over Bluffton.

Buena Vista moved back into a three-way tie for first in the IIAC with a win and some help. The Beavers beat Central 93-81 while Loras fell to Coe 79-76 and Nebraska Wesleyan lost to Simpson 102-97 in overtime.

SUNY Geneseo shot 68 percent in the second half at home against Cortland and the Knights slayed the Red Dragons, 77-53. Eric Mack posted a double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds) off Plattsburgh State's bench in the Cardinals' 97-60 win over SUNY Oneonta. Plattsburgh State now leads Cortland by 1.5 games in the SUNYAC standings.

Two NCAC standouts reached career milestones in their teams' wins. Spencer Williams scored the 1500th point of his career in Wooster's 65-57 victory over DePauw. Nate Axelrod notched his 600th career assist as Ohio Wesleyan beat Oberlin, 78-71.

Ty Nichols filled the stat sheet with 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Keene State struggled past Southern Maine 77-74. The Owls (14-5, 8-1) remain one game back of No. 17 Eastern Connecticut in the Little East Conference chase.

Juniata bolstered its hopes for a Landmark Conference playoff spot with a 70-62 win at home over Catholic. Marcus Lee scored 25 points on 12-for-17 shooting for the Eagles who are in a three-way tie with Catholic and Moravian for third.

Guilford defeated Washington and Lee 81-70 to extend its winning streak to four games and pulled itself even with the Generals in the ODAC standings. The Quakers turned 13 offensive rebounds into 22 second chance points.