NESCAC advances three to Sweet 16

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Devonn Allen of the Mammoths scraped for four rebounds and got to the line a lot as Amherst got past Rochester to reach the Sweet 16.
Rochester Athletic Communications photo

Augustana or Wheaton will represent the CCIW in the Elite 8, while Guilford and Randolph-Macon move on from the ODAC and Amherst, Hamilton and Williams all advanced from the NESCAC into the 2019 NCAA Division III men's basketball Sweet 16. Meanwhile, in the game of the night, St. Thomas knocked off defending champion Nebraska Wesleyan.

The NCAA announced sites for the Round of 16 and Round of 8: Hamilton, Amherst, UW-Oshkosh and Augustana.

Amherst advanced after posting a 75-67 victory at the University of Rochester. Amherst made a determined effort to shut down Ryan Clamage and Patrick Benka. The two UR players combined for 37 points on Friday night when Rochester defeated Farmingdale State 85-68, to reach the second round. Clamage had 19 points vs. FSC and Benka hit six of eight outside the arc to score 18 points. At halftime against Amherst, both were scoreless. Grant Robinson scored 17 points for Amherst (25-4), while Devonn Allen and Fru Che scored 12 points each. Brendan O'Shea scored 17 points for Rochester (21-6).

Peter Hoffman scored a team-high 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting, while Tim Doyle and Kena Gilmour added 16 points apiece as Hamilton defeated Moravian 83-72. Hamilton took the lead before the under-12 timeout in the first half and rode it the rest of the way. The win puts Hamilton in the round of 16 for the second consecutive season.

The upset run lasted for just one night for Gwynedd Mercy, as the Griffins returned to earth in a 90-56 loss to Williams. James Heskett scored 30 and Bobby Casey added 21 as the Ephs were able to get playing time for 14 people, 11 of whom scored. Williams led wire to wire, while Gwynedd Mercy shot just 3-for-22 from 3-point range and 3-for-10 from the line.

Aston Francis had a night that was more prolific than epic, as he poured in another 43 points on 13-for-33 shooting, going 5-for-18 from 3-point range in a 78-70 win at Wooster. Wooster trimmed Wheaton's lead to three points at 53-50 with 10:40 left in the game. However, Wheaton again responded with a run. A 12-4 Thunder run gave Wheaton a 65-54 lead with 5:51 remaining in the game. The run was started by a Luke Anthony 3-pointer with 8:38 remaining, and Francis had 29 of Wheaton's second-half points. 

"This was an unbelievable game. This is the best win of my career," said Wheaton coach Mike Schauer. "I am proud of my guys, they just fought and fought. The biggest thing tonight is that playing in an environment like this is a fairly normal road game for us. This is not a unique experience for us and I thought that really showed tonight."

Capital held off Augustana until midway through the second half, as Pierson Wofford and Chrishawn Orange made back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Vikings a 58-56 lead. The two traded off with each other to score 13 consecutive Augustana points, while Nolan Ebel hit a 3 himself to help secure the lead in an 85-79 win. Ebel led all scorers with 27 points, while Wofford added 18 and Orange 15.

Buzz Anthony had another big night for the Yellow Jackets, as he scored 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting to lift Randolph-Macon past York (Pa.) 78-60. Kyler Gregory scored a game-high 19 for Guilford as the Quakers got past Wittenberg 70-61.

The Ohio Athletic Conference just missed getting multiple teams in the Sweet 16 as well. Baldwin Wallace air-balled a go-ahead shot with 2.5 seconds left in regulation and Oswego State went on to survive in overtime, defeating the Yellow Jackets 75-71. In overtime, Oswego held Baldwin Wallace to just a single field goal on five attempts, while Joe Sullivan and Liam Sanborn iced the game with free throws. Sanborn and Brandan Gartland shared game-highs with 20 points apiece for the Lakers (24-5). Oswego will face Marietta, which advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time and is back after a one-year absence. The Pioneers defeated Arcadia 88-76. Sophomore Kyle Matoszkia had a second consecutive strong performance off of the bench as he pulled down a game-best 12 rebounds to go with seven points. Junior Caleb Hoyng added 15 points and six rebounds after a slow start and Anthony Wallace led all scorers with 20 points.

Swarthmore shot a blistering 24-for-27 from the floor in the first half and didn't cool down much after halftime, as the Garnet ran rings around MIT in a 105-65 win. AJ Jurko scored 28 points and shot 9-for-22 from the floor for the Engineers (23-5), but the rest of his teammates were a combined 12-for-38. George Visconti scored 22 and Cam Wiley added 21 for Swarthmore (26-3), as the two combined for just 43 minutes.

Christopher Newport managed to hold Alfred's Friday night hero, Dom LeMorta, to a more mortal 28 points, and more importantly, held the rest of the Saxons to 25 as CNU won 88-53 to advance to the Sweet 16. Christopher Newport drained 16 3-pointers, 12 in the opening half, and ended up 16 of 34 (47 percent) from behind the line. Senior Marcus Carter led the Captains in scoring with 26 points.

Loras reached the Sweet 16 for the first time and kept the CCIW from getting three teams in, defeating North Central 84-82. Whitman avenged its only regular-season loss, defeating Pomona-Pitzer 83-74. Ben Boots scored 25 and Brett Witchow added 24 as UW-Oshkosh made sure Northwestern's stay wasn't extended any further. Nichols eliminated the NJAC from the field entirely, knocking off host and Atlantic Region top seed Rowan 87-76. Marcos Echevarria scored 21 points to lift his career total to 2,485 points. The NJAC went 1-3 in the tournament.