GLASSBORO – The Nichols College men’s basketball team advanced in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament with an 87-76 win at Rowan University in the second round on Saturday night.
Nichols (27-2) plays Amherst College (25-4) in the sectional and Swarthmore College (27-3) meets Randolph-Macon College (27-3). The host for the sectional on Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9 will be determined by the NCAA. The sectional winner moves on to the semifinals and championship on Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN.
In the first round on Friday, Nichols defeated Middlebury College, 74-71 and Rowan had a 96-79 win over Emerson College. The Profs end the season with a 22-7 record. They received an at-large bid to the national tournament as the New Jersey Athletic Conference Champion. It was Rowan’s 13thappearance in the NCAA tournament and the first since 2000.
All of the Bison’s five starters scored in double figures. Guard Marcos Echevarria (sr. Lynn, MA/St. Mary’s School) scored 21 points. Guard Nate Tenaglia (so. Tewksbury, MA/Bradford Christian) contributed with 19 points. Forward Matt Marrow (so. Leicester, MA/Leicester) recorded a double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Guard DeAnte Bruton (jr. New London CT/Canterbury Prep) chipped in with 15 points and six boards. Forward Jerome Cunningham (jr. Westbury, NY/Westbury) had 11 points and eight rebounds.
For Rowan, guard/forward Ramon Wright (sr. Newark, NJ/Irvington) totaled 15 points while guard DaRon Curry (sr. Deptford, NJ/Phelps School (PA)) followed with 14. Forward Austin Kearney (jr. Monroeville, NJ/Gloucester County Christian) grabbed 10 rebounds.
Guards Rob DePersia (sr. Cherry Hill, NJ/Haddonfield Mem.) and Nick DePersia (sr. Cherry Hill, NJ/Haddonfield Mem.) NJ/Haddonfield Mem.) each registered 12 points. Rob DePersia recorded his 1,000thcareer point and is the 28thplayer at the University to reach the milestone. He finished his four years with 1,004 points. Nick DePersia compiled 1,439 points for his career and is fifth on the all-time scorers list.
The Bison started the second stanza with a 13-4 run to lead by 11 points (53-42) at 16:50. Four players contributed in the scoring. Morrow scored with a layup and Nichols was ahead 60-53 at 12:42. Nick DePersia, Wright and Kearney each followed with a basket to pull within one point (60-59) at 10:16. Rob DePersia drilled a three and tied the score at 62 (9:07).
Tenaglia had a three-pointer, which made the score 68-64 at 6:46. Guard Matt Green (so. Haddon Heights, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) answered with a basket and Curry took the lead 69-68 (5:30). It was the last one for the remainder of the game. Nichols was up 72-71 with 3:12 on the clock. The Bison built a 10 point advantage (83-73) with an 11-2 surge that ended at the one minute mark. Echevarria (0:36) and Tenaglia (0:36) each had two foul shots to seal the win.
In the first half, Nichols led by 13 points twice with the last time (21-8) at 12:09. Green hit a jumper and a three-pointer to cut the deficit to four (22-26) with 8:48 left. Wright sank two foul shots (3:19) and the Profs were down by one (33-32). Echevarria’s layup put the lead back up to five (37-32) with 2:48 left. Nick DePersia tied the score at 37 (1:13) with two free throws. Bruton made two foul shots (0:32) and Rob DePersia had one (0:07). Nichols was ahead 40-38 at the intermission.