Oh mercy! Marietta, Plattsburgh bounced

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The Gwynedd Mercy players kept themselves in check in a loud gym at Marietta, and kept Marietta in check the final four minutes.
Marietta athletics photo 

Dan Fanelly scored a 40-year high for Wooster and knocked Lancaster Bible out of the NCAA Tournament on its first night.
Wooster athletics file photo
Joey Flannery launches a halfcourt buzzer-beater to end the first half in Babson's win vs. Hartwick.
Hartwick athletics photo

Gwynedd Mercy scored the final 10 points of the game, including the last bucket with 2.1 seconds left as the Griffins knocked off sixth-ranked Marietta 86-85. Meanwhile, Lancaster Bible saw its unbeaten run come to an end, and Middlebury survived when a would-be game-tying basket was waved off at the buzzer in Friday's Division III men's basketball NCAA Tournament first-round action.

The Griffins (22-5) trailed 85-76 at the last media timeout, with 3:41 left in the game. But Marietta went 0-for-6 with two turnovers the rest of the way, while Darnell Artis scored four points in the final three minutes and fed Brian Hennessey for the layup with 2.1 to go that gave GMU the lead. Marietta's baseball pass on the ensuing inbounds was picked off and GMU was able to run out the clock with an intentional missed free throw with 0.3 left, knocking off Marietta in front of a packed crowd.

"I love playing in a hostile environment," Artis said after the game. "These are the type of environments we always wanted to play in. Just show that you can be calm in a hostile environment and that's what we did."

Plattsburgh State went on an 8-0 run to turn a 78-71 deficit into a 79-78 lead, but Fitchburg State got just enough at the foul line and Jaleel Bell finished off a big night with a layup for his 29th and 30th points to help the Falcons knock off the homestanding Cardinals, 84-81. Plattsburgh entered the tournament as the NCAA's top-ranked East Region team.

Dan Fanelly scored a game-high 45 points and tied a Division III NCAA Tournament record with 21 field goals as Wooster defeated Lancaster Bible 96-83, ending the Chargers' season at 27-1. Fanelly, who was 21-for-24 from the floor, was the first Scot to break 40 since 1977. It was the one and only loss for Lancaster Bible which ran the table in the regular season but plays in the NEAC, traditionally one of the bottom conferences in Division III.

"Our schedule hurt us in the sense that we didn't get challenged like this all year," said Lancaster Bible coach Zach Filzen. "They forced us to play in a way that no one has this season. We didn't execute well and obviously they make you pay if you're not very, very discipline in what you're trying to do."

Middlebury survived a would-be game-tying buzzer beater from Salisbury and edged the Sea Gulls 75-73 to advance to the second round. Salisbury trailed by three with 20 seconds left but couldn't find an open outside shooter so Gordon Jeter drove to the rim for his 18th points of the night.

After Matt St. Amour hit two free throw to put Middlebury back up three with five seconds left, the Panthers fouled Salisbury to prevent a game-tying shot. The Sea Gulls made the first one, intentionally missed the second and the ball trickled out of bounds off Middlebury. With just 0.2 seconds left, Salisbury inbounded the ball to Jeter who briefly caught the ball before laying it over the rim for two. The Sea Gulls celebrated but the officials briefly conferred with the scoring table and waived off the shot.

St. Amour finished with 27 points and a perfect 11-for-11 performance from the free throw line as Middlebury, which was the No. 4 seed in the NESCAC tournament, advanced to the second round and improved to 18-10.

St. Olaf played its way into the NCAA Tournament and the Oles kept the run going with an 80-78 win vs. North Central (Ill.) in first-round action at St. Norbert. Ben Figini scored a team-high 21, but it was Justin Pahl who made all four of his free throws as St. Olaf (18-9) went 6-for-6 from the line in the final minute to ice the win. 

Brian Sortino scored a game-high 39 points, including a three-point play with 18 seconds left in regulation as Oswego State advanced with an 88-78 win vs. Delaware Valley in overtime. Sortino scored 10 of his points in the extra session, which was forced when Del Val hit two free throws with 0.8 seconds left in the second half. Oswego will face Gwynedd Mercy on the neutral floor at Marietta.

In addition to Middlebury, two other NESCAC teams escaped in the first round as well. Amherst defeated Husson 74-72 when Jeff (not Lord Jeff) Racy hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the game. Tufts held on as Southern Vermont missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds and the Jumbos defeated Southern Vermont 78-76. Meanwhile, the magic went the other direction for Trinity (Conn.) as the Bantams lost by two, 78-76 to Johnson & Wales.

Skidmore went on a 21-2 run in the second half as the Thoroughbreds rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit and went on to defeat Franklin & Marshall 83-72 in first-round action at Tufts. Edvinas Rupkus and Erik Sanders scored 19 points apiece to lead Skidmore, which improved to 19-8 while F&M's season ended at 22-6.

Matt Ozzella's free throw with three seconds left in overtime gave Keene State a 72-71 win at Stockton. Keene State (19-10) was down 61-57 with 1:18 left in regulation, but Nichols converted a three-point play to get Keene State within one, and after the Ospreys turned it over, Stitchell laid it in for a 62-61 lead. Nichols was fouled and went 1-for-2 from the line, but Hadden's layup tied the score at 63 with 11 seconds to go and the Owls' shot as time expired did not fall. Nate Howard swatted away Marcus Harmon's jumper with five seconds left, and Ozzella grabbed the rebound. Jaymere Hadden fouled with three seconds left, and though he missed the first, Ozzella nailed the second.

Alma advanced to the second round in its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance as the Scots rode just eight players to victory in a 74-60 win vs. Denison. D.J. Beckman scored a game-high 17 points and Scott Nikodemski added 15 in the win.

Scranton jumped out to an early 10-3 lead but Lynchburg answered with a 22-0 first-half run to open a double-digit lead and the Hornets cruised to a 82-55 win over Scranton in their first NCAA Tournament game since 1979. Zack Burnett poured in a game-high 19 points along with a full stat line of seven steals, six rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Austen Arnold added 17 points.

No. 1 Augustana had no trouble with Westminster (Mo.), as six players scored in double figures in a 105-52 win. The Vikings (27-1) shot 67 percent from the floor while outrebounding the Bluejays (12-16) by a 42-15 margin. Augustana will face Hope, which defeated Mount St. Joseph 98-87. Brock Benson went 13-for-15 from the floor en route to a game-high 31 points. He led five scorers in double figures for the Flying Dutchmen, who shot 63.5 percent from the floor and 8-for-16 from beyond the arc in the win.