#21 Bison fall to #16 Cardinals in NCAA Tournament

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The No. 21-ranked Nichols College men's basketball saw its season come to an end with a 103-86 setback to No. 16-ranked Plattsburgh State University on Friday in the NCAA Tournament First Round held in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
The Bison wrap up the season at 25-4 overall, matching the program record for wins in a season set two seasons ago. The Cardinals (23-4) advance to the Second Round where they will take on Union College, who defeated New Jersey City University 76-72 in the other First Round game held earlier in the night.
Sophomore DeAnte Bruton had a monster game for the Bison, posting a double-double of 32 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Junior Marcos Echevarria added 20 points, six rebounds, and eight assists, while sophomore Tyler Dion chipped in 10 points and five assists.
The freshman duo of Matt Morrow and Dakotah Nicoll both had strong nights for Nichols as Morrow finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists, with Nicoll adding seven points and three boards in extended minutes.
Plattsburgh State had five players reach double-figures in scoring led by 21 points and six rebounds from junior Jonathan Patron. Senior Zack Coleman added 15 points, with classmate Eli Bryant adding 14 points and eight assists off the bench. Sophomore Nick DeAngelis and senior Eric Mack added 12 points apiece, while junior Ian Howard pulled in 12 boards.
The Bison shot 41.7% (30-of-72) from the field, 35.7% (10-of-28) from beyond the arc, and 76.2% (16-of-21) from the free throw line in the setback. Plattsburgh State knocked down 50.7% (37-of-73) of its shots, including 42.9% (9-of-21) of its threes, and 64.5% (20-of-31) of its free throws. The Cardinals held a 48-42 advantage in rebounding, and committed 10 turnovers compared to 13 for the Bison.
Nichols jumped out to an early 7-3 lead following a pair of free throws from Bruton, but a 5-0 run by the Cardinals capped by a Patron layup put the home team in front 8-7 with 16:01 to play. Tyler Dion ended the run with a triple, and the Bison eventually took a 15-13 lead on a layup from Bruton.
Dakotah Nicoll tied the game at 17-17 with two free throws at the 11:45 mark, and the Cardinals answered with a 9-2 run to grab a 26-19 advantage nearly two minutes later. Four-straight points from the Bison, including Echevarria's first bucket of the game, pulled the Bison back to 26-23, and a pair of free throws from the junior cut the deficit to 35-29 with 5:41 remaining. Dion canned a transition three the next time down the floor to make it a one-possession game at 35-32, and the two teams traded scores until back-to-back layups from junior Chris Middleton and Mack put the Cardinals back in front 46-41 with 2:12 remaining.
A three from Mack followed by a layup from DeAngelis extended the Plattsburgh lead to 51-43 late in the first half, but Bruton knocked down a triple before the horn to make it a 51-46 deficit headed into the break.
Unfortunately for the Bison, Plattsburgh State came out firing on all cylinders as the Cardinals used a 9-0 run to break out to a 60-46 advantage and force a Nichols timeout. Morrow ended the run with a layup out of the break, but Plattsburgh State scored the next five points to grab a 65-48 lead with 16:49 remaining.
A three from Echevarria sparked an 8-0 run that included a layup from Bruton and a three-point play from Morrow to pull the Bison back to 65-56. The two teams traded 5-0 runs as a triple from Dion made it a 70-61 game, but Nichols could not get the deficit closer than nine as the Cardinals had the answer every time.
A three-point play from Bruton kept the Bison within 77-68 and 9:08 to play, but another 10-4 run by Plattsburgh State put the home team in front 87-52 a little over two minutes later. Echevarria and Bruton continued to try and keep the Bison in the game, but the Cardinals were too much down the stretch as they pulled away for the 103-86 victory.
All-Time Series
This was the first meeting between the two programs in program history. The Bison drop to 1-2 in the NCAA Tournament with the setback.