NEW LONDON, N.H. –The Nichols College men's basketball team defeated Anna Maria, 105-96 to claim the 2016 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Basketball Championship at Colby-Sawyer on Sunday afternoon.
Nichols College ends its season at 25-4, while Anna Maria finishes at 15-13.
ECAC TOURNAMENT LEADER
The tournament's Most Outstanding Player was junior Devin Stallings (Waterbury, Conn.) of Nichols College who combined for 40 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks and shot 18-32 to lead the Bison to wins in the semifinals and finals.
ANNA MARIA LEADERS
Anna Maria was led by senior Patrick Bradanese's (Billerica, Mass.) 33 points. He was 10-of-19 from the floor and 6-of-11 from beyond the arc to go along with a team best six assists. Senior Pedro Trindade (Billerica, Mass.) had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Tyler Delorey (Worcester, Mass.) chipped in 14 points, while graduate student Corey Pryor (Northbridge, Mass.) had 11.
The five Nichols starters reached double figures for the second straight game and were led by the team's lone senior Gustave Koumare (Harlem, N.Y.). He was 10-of-16 for 28 points. Junior Irving Eggleston (East Lyme, Conn.) was 9-of-15 for 25 points and four steals. Stallings scored 16 points on 8-of-12 and added six boards. Freshman Marcos Echevarria (Lynn, Mass.) collected 14 points, four steals and a game best eight assists. Junior Christian Horton (Rutland, Mass.) added 12 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first half featured five ties but just one lead change which occurred in the first 1:13 of the game. After a Kyle McKissick (Charlton, Mass.) layup opened the game for the AMCATS, Nichols rattled off six straight points to take the lead that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the half. Anna Maria kept the game close and tied the contest multiple times throughout the frame until the Bison used a 12-2 run to take a 42-42 lead capped by an emphatic two-handed slam from Stallings. Trailing by seven with 1:27 to play in the frame, Anna Maria received a three-point play from Bradanese to cut the halftime deficit to 47-43.
Nichols progressively widened its half time lead to an eventual game-high of 23 points, 86-63, after a Stallings layup with seven minutes to play. Anna Maria did not give up and battled back with a 20-5 run over a two-and-a-half-minute stretch including six three-pointers and 14 points from Bradanese. The Bison responded though and put the game away by hitting numerous free throws in the final two minutes.
Anna Maria won the battle of the boards 52-32, while Nichols turned 22 Anna Maria miscues into 42 points.
First Round – Wednesday, March 2
#5 Pine Manor def. #4 Elms - 127-124 - 2OT
Semifinals – Saturday, March 5
Semifinal #1: No. 1 Nichols def. No. 5 Pine Manor, 102-80
Semifinal #2: No. 3 Anna Maria def. No. 2 Colby-Sawyer, 99-90
Championship – Sunday, March 6 – at Colby-Sawyer
#1 Nichols College def. #3 Anna Maria, 105-96
Most Outstanding Player – Devin Stallings, Nichols College