Saturday men: Wooster clinches; Midd bounced

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Turner Kurt set off the buzzer and the celebration for Wooster.
Wooster athletics photo

The No. 1 seed in the NCAC went to a familiar name on a 3 at the buzzer, while elsewhere, teams got bounced from conference tournaments, entered tournaments on a roll, or just plain needed a win to get in on Saturday.

Turner Kurt’s monumental game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer gave the Wooster men’s basketball team the North Coast Athletic Conference title outright and clinched the No. 1 seed for the upcoming conference tournament. Kurt’s heroic shot capped the wild ending of Saturday’s 75-74 win over Wabash College at Timken Gymnasium.

Wooster (19-5, 13-3 NCAC) had 2.1 seconds to get the game winner. The Scots were set up in prime position, thanks to junior JJ Cline showcasing his All-Ohio quarterback skills, which flipped the baseline Wooster had to operate from after Wabash deflected the four-fifths court entry pass out of bounds. Senior Najee Hardaway’s screen gave Kurt a step on Wabash’s (18-7, 11-5) Ahmoni Jones, then the Scots’ 6-8 forward’s ball fake kept the Little Giants’ forward from getting back into the picture for a strong contest. After the fake, Kurt dribbled once to his right and drained the biggest shot of his career. Wabash overcame a 13-point second half deficit to take the lead with 2.4 seconds remaining.

No. 8-ranked Johns Hopkins beat host Ursinus, 85-76, on Saturday. The Blue Jays’ win, combined with a Gettysburg win over Swarthmore and a Franklin & Marshall win over McDaniel, makes Hopkins the top seed in next weekend’s Centennial Conference tournament. The Blue Jays trailed for more than 21 minutes before a Sidney Thybulle three-point play put Hopkins on top 48-45. That and-one sparked an 11-4 run that saw the Jays go up 56-49 with 14:37 to play. Seniors Lincoln Yeutter and Carson James capped the run with back-to-back 3-pointers.

Solidifying tourney seeding

Randolph-Macon finished its unbeaten run through the Old Dominion Athletic Conference men’s basketball schedule, as the No. 2 Yellow Jackets edged No. 14 Guilford on the road, 61-58. Randolph-Macon led by 18 points in the second half, but Guilford responded with a 17-1 run to get back into the game. After Randolph-Macon edged back out to an eight-point lead, the Quakers (20-5, 13-3 ODAC) went on a 9-2 spurt to cut the lead to 59-58 with three minutes left. Keishawn Pulley hit two free throws with 17.9 seconds left to put R-MC up 61-58 and missed a pair of three-point attempts in the final seconds as the Yellow Jackets held on for the victory. Randolph-Macon improved to 24-1, 16-0 in the conference and will enter the ODAC tournament with a first-round bye and the tournament’s top seed.

Carleton won its school-record 22nd game of the season, as the Knights went up to St. Scholastica and cruised past the Saints by a 90-70 score. Scholastica (7-18, 6-14 MIAC) cut the Knights lead to two points early in the second half, but Carleton (22-3, 17-3) scored the next 10 points, capped off by back-to-back 3 – pointers by Beck Page. Page finished with a game-high 27 points and was 7-for-11 from downtown.

North Park wrapped up the No. 2 seed in the CCIW tournament, as the Vikings finalized one of the best regular seasons in three decades with a 73-65 win at the Augustana Vikings. With it, North Park ends the year with a 13-3 record in conference play, trailing only top seed Wheaton (Ill.), which is 14-2 in conference play. North Park’s Quillin Dixon had a standout night to close the season, pouring in a season-high 19 points to lead the Vikings. He shot a perfect 3-for-3 from distance with a 10-for-11 mark from the free throw stripe. The 20 wins are North Park’s most since 1987, the year the school won the fifth of its five Division III men’s basketball national titles.

Cairn celebrated Senior Day with a 91-66 victory at home against Bryn Athyn, clinching the No. 1 seed in next week’s Colonial States Athletic Conference tournament. The Highlanders (17-8, 12-2) honored eight seniors, including Kameron Clark, who scored a team-high 14 points, including the 1,000th of his career. Cairn awaits the winner of a play-in game between the No. 4 and No. 5 seed in the CSAC tournament.

Freshman Matt Seidl scored a game-high 24 points as Washington & Jefferson wrapped up the conference slate with an 87-63 win against Grove City in Presidents’ Athletic Conference play at W&J. The teams will meet again on Tuesday evening in the PAC quarterfinals. Seidl broke the W&J freshman scoring record, one which had stood for 50 years. He averages 15.8 points per game. W&J finishes the regular season at 19-6 overall and 16-4 in conference as they enter next week’s tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Tournaments underway

Dylan Thoerner tallied a game-high 30 points, including 14 in the two overtime periods, to lift fifth-seeded Tufts to an 89-80 win at No. 4 seeded and No. 12 ranked Middlebury in the NESCAC quarterfinals. Sixth-seeded Colby also advanced by winning at Wesleyan, 82-80 in overtime, and will play at No. 1 seed Williams, while Tufts will play against second-seeded Hamilton. Those games do not take place until next Saturday, Feb. 25, at Williams.

In NJAC tournament play, third-seeded Montclair State advanced to the conference semifinals, as Keyon Price scored 31 to lead the Red Hawks past sixth-seeded New Jersey City 89-69. No. 5 TCNJ advanced past Kean, 85-81 in overtime behind 20 points from Anthony DiCaro and 19 from Pat Huggins. Montclair plays at Stockton and TCNJ plays at archrival Rowan on Tuesday.

Playing their way in

York (Pa.) played its way into the MAC Commonwealth tournament with a 78-64 win at Widener. The Spartans made the tournament despite starting 1-6 in the conference standings and will be the tournament’s fifth seed. York (14-11, 8-8) shot a season-best 63.6% (28-for-44) from the floor and a season-best 52.4% (11-for-21) from three in going to Widener and winning. Kai Cipalla led four Spartans in double figures as scored 22 points.

Minnesota-Morris won its way into the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference tournament, as the Cougars scored the last four points of the game to win at Northland, 74-70. The win, with a loss by North Central (Minn.), put the Cougars into the conference postseason as the fourth seed. Pal scored a game-high 19 points, while Kenny Placide came off the bench to score 11. With under a minute to go, Placide grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback to give Morris a two-point lead. After a stop on the defensive end, the Cougars quickly advanced the ball upcourt and Placide scored again with less than 20 seconds left for the final margin.

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