Wednesday: Down the stretch they come

Kena Gilmour and Hamilton got past Amherst on Wednesday night so they'll host Colby to start the NESCAC tournament on Saturday.
Hamilton athletics file photo by Josh McKee

The NESCAC race ended with its top six teams separated by one game. The OAC could finish in a four-way tie for first. Plus St. John's blasted its rivals and the UW-Oshkosh women wrapped up the WIAC title on last Wednesday night of the regular season.

No. 10 Hamilton made six free throws in the final 30 seconds and topped No. 11 Amherst 81-77 in a rare midweek conference game for the NESCAC that determined its tournament seeding. The Continentals erased a seven-point halftime deficit at home behind 23 points from Kena Gilmour and finished in a three-way tie for first with Amherst and Middlebury. The Panthers will be the top seed followed by Hamilton and then Amherst, which is ranked first in the NCAA's second set of Northeast Region rankings. Williams, Trinity (Conn.) and Wesleyan finished one-game back and will be seeded in that order.

Amherst is not the only top team in the NCAA regional rankings that lost on Wednesday night. No. 16 Capital, which is ranked first in the Great Lakes, missed its chance to wrap up home court in the OAC when Wilmington dumped the Crusaders, 67-62. The Quakers got 28 points from its reserves, including 11 from Will Patrick. Wilmington pulled within one game of first place Capital and sits in a three-way tie for second with No. 19 Marietta and Mount Union, which hosts Capital on Saturday. 

New Jersey, which is ranked first in the Atlantic, lost at Ramapo 74-66 as the Roadrunners got 19 points and 11 rebounds from Rob McWilliams. Ramapo will be the fourth seed in the NJAC tournament and host William Paterson on Saturday.

No. 15 St. John's roughed up rival and sixth-ranked St. Thomas 94-75, denying the Tommies the MIAC title, at least for a little while longer. Six Johnnies reached double figures, led by Zach Hanson with 22 points. St. Thomas can win the MIAC title outright by beating St. Mary's (Minn.) on Saturday.

No. 3 UW-Oshkosh has already won the WIAC title, but the Titans saw their 21-game winning streak snapped when UW-La Crosse closed the game on a 10-0 run and rallied for a 66-61 victory. The Eagles (16-8, 9-4) secured the second seed and a bye into the WIAC tournament semifinals. 

No. 14 Wooster went to the free throw line 42 times and made 35 of them in a 94-86 win over Oberlin that gives Scots their 18th NCAC title and extends their streak of seasons with at least 20 wins to 23. Wooster got some help from its rival Wittenberg when the Tigers defeated No. 24 Wabash 76-62. Jordan Pumroy led Wittenberg with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Luther seemed to be on its way to a major upset, leading No. 20 Loras 84-83 with five seconds left. The Duhawks called time out and got the ball to Jordan Ruggles who was fouled with one second left. He made two free throws to give Loras the lead and then Luther committed another foul with no time left on the clock, allowing Cole Navigato to add two more free throws and finish the Duhawks' 87-84 win. 

Marcos Echevarria scored 26 points and DeAnte Burton added 27 more as No. 17 Nichols outscored Gordon 107-93. Echevarria passed Steve Nordland of Grinnell for fourth place all-time in three pointers made in Division III.

Outside the Top 25, Stephen Brennan picked up his 400th win when Babson topped Emerson, 90-69. The Beavers scored the first 12 points of the second half and broke out to a 17-point lead. Sky Harris scored 21 points in Drew's 64-52 win over Scranton and the Rangers secured the top spot in the Landmark Conference playoffs.

Women: Titans, Tigers champs again

No. 15 UW-Oshkosh used a strong second half to flip a small halftime deficit into at least a share of the WIAC title, as the Titans topped No. 24 UW-La Crosse, 71-62. Trailing 37-33 at the break, Oskhosh shot 54 percent in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter ahead, 53-50. The teams battled back and forth until Chloe Pustina's three-pointer gave the Titans a six-point lead with less than three minutes to play. After La Crosse cut the lead in half with a three, Oshkosh's Jessie Rabas made four free throws in the final 21 seconds to ice the victory. Recap

Oshkosh secured at least a share of its 13th WIAC title and can win it outright by beating Eau Claire at home on Saturday. La Crosse slipped to third place in the upcoming WIAC tournament because Whitewater continued its surge with a 63-52 win at Platteville

No. 19 DePauw pulled away from Denison late for a 58-50 victory that gives the Tigers their seventh NCAC title in eight seasons. All-American Maya Howard scored 21 points for DePauw which has won at least 20 games in 18 consecutive seasons.

No. 16 DeSales survived a scare at Eastern where the Bulldogs held off the Eagles 62-59. DeSales, which has already locked up the top spot in the MAC Freedom playoffs, extended its winning streak to 17 games. Despite an 11-game losing streak earlier this season, Eastern still has a shot at the last playoff spot, along with King's and Delaware Valley.

No. 23 Gettysburg was not so lucky as the Bullets played without All-American Emma Dorshimer and got trounced by Dickinson, 79-49. The Red Devils shot 53 percent (29-for-55) while the Bullets shot 22 percent (13-for-59) and dropped their first regular season road game in over a year.

Outside the Top 25, Mass-Dartmouth edged Mass-Boston 60-59 on Nakira Examond's layup with 12 seconds left. Examond posted 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Corsairs who now have home court for the Little East Conference tournament. Christopher Newport took over first place in the CAC by hammering Salisbury, 81-45, behind a 24-point performance by Jessica Foster who shot 8 for 10 from three. The Captains also got help from Mary Washington which beat Southern Virginia 66-53 despite a 23-point, 10-rebound night for Katie Garrish.