Wildcats Fall 72-67 In NCAA Tournament Debut

Wildcats Fall 72-67 In NCAA Tournament Debut

Manchester, N.H. - The Daemen College men's basketball team saw its magical 2018-19 season come to an end following a 72-67 loss to fourth-seeded University of New Haven this evening in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Division II East Region Championship. New Haven, a member of the Northeast-10 Conference, improved to 21-9 overall, and the Chargers advance to face top-seeded Saint Anselm College in tomorrow's regional semifinals.
 
Daemen, which was making its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, closes the season with a 24-6 overall record, achieving the most victories of the program's NCAA Division II era.

Elijah Bailey led a quartet of double-figure scorers for the Chargers with 17 points. The first-team All-NE-10 guard did the majority of work at the charity stripe where he shot 9-for-10. The free throw line paid huge dividends for UNH as they outscored Daemen 29-8 from there. The Chargers shot 17-of-21 from the charity in the second half alone.

Quashawn Lane and Roy Kane, Jr. notched 14 points apiece, and Derrick Rowland finished with 13 for UNH, helping them improve to 21-9 on the season. Kane, Jr. added a team-high eight rebounds.

Andrew Sischo (Guilderland, N.Y.), who was recently dubbed the East Region Player of the Year, finished with a game-high 19 points to pace the Wildcats. Sischo scored eight points in the opening five minutes of the game. His first basket of the night broke the program record for scoring by a sophomore (567) set by Rob Robinson during the 1989-90 season. Sischo, who also grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots tonight, finished with 585 points this season which ranks eighth in team history. He's just the seventh player in team history to average better than 20 points per game for an entire season, and the first since Torrence Dyck in 2015-16. 

Jeff Redband (Batavia, N.Y.) and Darius Garvin (Elmira, N.Y.) also reached double figures for the Wildcats, finishing with 11 points apiece. Garvin added a team-high seven rebounds, and Redband snared six. Quinn Lee Yaw (Jamestown, N.Y.) scored eight points and Deion Hamilton (Rochester, N.Y.) chipped in with seven.

New Haven held the lead for over 36 minutes in the contest. The Chargers jumped out to an early 15-8 lead, but Daemen regrouped and went ahead 22-21 on an old-fashioned thee-point play by Redband. It was short-lived however as Daemen would lead for only 34 seconds in the entire game.

With the score tied 28-28, New Haven launched an 11-2 run to closeout the opening half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Lane and Kessly Felizor kick-started the spurt. Rowland's three-pointer just before the first-half buzzer, UNH's sixth of the period, pushed their advantage to 39-30 as the teams headed to the locker room.

Daemen stormed out to start the second, holding New Haven without any points for nearly six minutes. The Wildcats scored the first nine points of the half, pulling even on a layup by Redband. But, in what would become a theme of the game, UNH regrouped and re-established their lead. They scored 14 of the next 19 points, getting points from five different players. Rowland's two free throws at the 9:09 put UNH back ahead by nine (53-44). 

Daemen pulled back within two points three times over the next several minutes, but couldn't pull even until Sischo's layup off a feed from Jay Sarkis (Rochester, N.Y.) wiith 2:27 to go which made the count 64-all. UNH came back with a layup by Najee Larcher, and Daemen pulled even again when Garvin scored in the paint. 

Bailey drove and scored with 1:13 to go, putting New Haven on top 68-66. Daemen came up empty on its next possession, but a New Haven turnover gave them another chance to tie or take the lead. Sischo was fouled inside with 20 second left, but following a timeout, he split the pair of freebies, leaving the Wildcats trailing by one (68-67). After being fouled on the inbounds pass, Bailey split a pair of free throws, leaving the door open for some late Daemen heroics. But, Garvin's game-tying attempt on a drive to the hoop was blocked by Lane. After corralling the loose ball, Lane was fouled with nine seconds left. He went to the line, but was only able to hit 1-of-2, making it a three-point UNH lead at 70-67. After a Daemen timeout in the frontcourt, their sideline out-of-bounds play got Redband a tying look from the corner, but it was off the mark. Lane converted a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left to seal the deal for UNH.

It marked New Haven's first NCAA tournament win since 2013. The Chargers are making their eighth NCAA tournament appearance in team history, and their first since 2014. They'll face Saint Anselm tomorrow (7:30 p.m.) at Stoutenburgh Gym. The tournament host Hawks outlasted No. 8 Molloy College 81-71. Upsets ruled the early portion of play today as sixth-seeded Saint Thomas Aquinas College overcame a 19-point deficit to beat third-seeded Le Moyne College 61-59, and No. 7 Dominican College blasted No. 2 Merrimack College 64-50.

The loss tonight means the end of the road for Daemen's five seniors - Garvin, Lee Yaw, Hamilton, Nick Petrucelli (Hicksville, N.Y.) and Dmarco Barnes (Baldwin, N.Y.). Over the course of the last five seasons, the quintet has helped Daemen to 105 wins, second-most among all East Coast Conference and New York State Division II teams.

Provided by the Daemen Sports Information Department.