MILTON, Mass. – Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Player of the Year Sedale Jones (Pittsfield, Mass.) poured in a game-high 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds, leading top-seeded Curry past #2 Gordon, 69-63, in the CCC Men's Championship game. With the win, the Colonels claim their first conference tournament title since 2008 and earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Both teams now possess a 21-7 overall record.
Jones recorded 12 points and four rebounds in the opening frame, helping Curry claim a 32-22 edge at halftime. Senior David Dempsey (Wallingford, Conn.) led the Fighting Scots over the first 20 minutes of action with 10 points and six boards.
Dempsey scored the first four points for the Fighting Scots, giving them their only lead of the game (4-2) with 16:56 on the clock. Over the next two minutes, senior John Durkin (Madison, Conn.) made a layup and junior Lambros Papalambros (Quincy, Mass.) sank a pair from the charity stripe to give Curry a lead it would never relinquish. The Colonels steadily built their lead, and entered the break with a 32-22 advantage after Jones drained a buzzer-beating shot from beyond the arc.
In the second half, Curry junior Carlos Ribeiro (Charlestown, Mass.) recorded all 13 of his points, while Fighting Scots' sophomore Taylor Bajema (Whitinsville, Mass.) scored all 11 of his.
With 10:52 remaining in the second half, Ribeiro made a three-pointer to extend the Colonels' lead to 13 (48-35). Gordon trimmed the deficit to eight (48-40) after Bajema converted a layup with 9:04 on the clock. Jones scored the next six points to give the Colonels their biggest lead of the night (54-40) with 5:46 left in regulation.
Dempsey scored nine of his team's next 16 points, cutting Curry's lead to five (61-56) with 1:25 left in the game. The Colonels were sent to the charity stripe 12 times over the final 1:20 of action, sinking eight free throws en route to the 69-63 victory.
Jones shot 50% (9-18) from the field, including one three-pointer and drained four free throws to account for his 23 points. Ribeiro chipped in with 13 points, while junior A.J. Stephens (Stamford, Conn.) contributed with 10.
The Fighting Scots were led by Dempsey, recording a double-double with 22 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Junior Park Thomas (Scotsdale, Ariz.) added 12 points. Bajema and junior Luke Hamilton (Mount Airy, N.C.) scored 11 and 10, respectively.
On Monday, February 25, the NCAA and WebStream Sports will be producing a Division III Men's Basketball Selection Show. The show, which will air on NCAA.com at 12:30 p.m. ET, will reveal the teams moving on to the postseason.
First-round NCAA Division III Tournament games will be played at individual campus sites on Saturday, March 2. Second-round games will be played at campus sites the following Saturday with third-round contests played on Saturday, March 16. Quarterfinalists will compete in Salem, Va., on March 22 and then those winners will play semifinal games on March 23. The two winners will head to Atlanta two weeks later to be part of the Big Dance.