#1 Robert Morris 75, #5 Quinnipiac 48
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Corapolis, PA -- Senior guard Jeremy Chappell (Cincinnati, OH/Northwest), the 2009 Northeast Conference Player of the Year, tied a season high with 25 points in helping lead the No. 1 seeded Robert Morris team to a 75-48 win over No. 5 seed Quinnipiac Sunday afternoon in a 2009 NEC Tournament semifinal game at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
Thanks to the win the Colonials improve to 23-10 overall on the 2008-09 campaign and will host the 2009 NEC Tournament championship game Wednesday, March 11, at 8:00 p.m. against either No. 2 seed Mount St. Mary's or No. 3 seed Sacred Heart live on ESPN2.
Chappell scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the first half, including six straight to end the stanza that bolstered RMU to a 40-27 lead at intermission.
"He was immense," Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said of Chappell. "He played like you'd expect a senior player of the year would play. He was great on offense. He was great on defense. He was terrific."
Robert Morris jumped out to an early 9-4 advantage before the Bobcats (15-16) used a 7-2 spurt to knot the score, 11-11, with 12:34 left before halftime.
Sophomore forward Justin Rutty (Newburgh, NY/Newburgh Free) started the run with a layup off an offensive rebound, while freshman guard James Johnson buried a jumper and junior guard Jeremy Baker (Washington, DC/Garden City CC) drained a three-pointer.
The Colonials regained the lead on a three-pointer from senior guard Bateko Francisco (Paris, France/Fort Scott JC), and the lead eventually increased to 27-19 for Robert Morris after a pair of Francisco free throws.
Senior guard Bryan Geffen (Queens, NY/St. Francis Prep) pulled Quinnipiac within 27-21 thanks to a jumper in the paint with 4:42 to go before intermission, but Robert Morris closed the half on a 13-6 run to take a 40-27 halftime advantage.
The Bobcats were unable to trim to their deficit to single digits in the second half, as a 22-4 Colonial run over eight minutes gave RMU its biggest advantage of the game, 71-32, with 5:08 to play. Chappell scored eight points during the surge, while junior forward Rob Robinson (Waldorf, MD/Globe Tech) added five.
“We were focused defensively off the ball tonight, and I thought that was the difference," Robert Morris head coach Mike Rice said. "When you defend the way we did, that's what makes you successful. We played for 40 minutes, maybe not perfect offensively or perfect defensively, but we followed the formula that has made us successful. Tonight, we had toughness and substance."
Chappell finished 10-for-17 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-12 performance from beyond the arc, and also added eight rebounds and three assists. Francisco and junior guard Jimmy Langhurst (Willard, OH/Willard) each added 12 points for the Colonials, who shot 58.8 percent (30-for-51) from the field.
Quinnipiac was led by James Feldeine, who finished with 16 points, while Rutty recorded his 13th double-double of the year with 10 points and 14 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. The Bobcats shot just 33.3 percent (16-for-48) for the game, including 20.8 percent (5-for-24) after halftime.Semifinals
#2 Mount St. Mary's 68, #3 Sacred Heart 63
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Emmitsburg, MD -- Kelly Beidler (Virginia Beach, VA/Tallwood) finished with a team-high 13 points, including six down the stretch, to help the #2 seeded Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers (19-12) survive 68-63 over #3 seed Sacred Heart University in a Northeast Conference men's basketball tournament semi-final Sunday night.
The Pioneers (17-14) scored the first five points of the game on a Corey Hassan (Merrimack, NH/Merrimack) three and a Chauncey Hardy (Middletown, CT/Xavier) steal and layup. A Jerrell Thompson (Plainfield, NJ/Plainfield) three with 13:56 left gave the Pioneers their largest of the half at 16-7.
Beidler tied it midway through the half at 18-18 with a dunk. The Mountaineers took their first lead with 3:55 left in the half at 29-28 on a long trey from Jeremy Goode (Charlotte, NC/Providence Day). Ryon Howard (Bronx, NY/Holderness School) answered with a driving layup for the Pioneers, but Goode beat the SHU defense down the floor and was fouled going to the basket. He hit both free throws to put The Mount ahead 31-30. After a Pioneer turnover, the Mountaineers took a 34-30 lead on a baseline three from Jean Cajou (Fairfax, VA/Paul VI).
Hassan cut the Mount lead to 36-34 with a three-point play with 1:35 left in the half. A pair of Goode free throws with :11 left put the Mountaineers back up four, but a Hassan trey with :02 left cut the Mount intermission lead to 40-39.
Ryan Litke (Windsor, CT/Windsor) put the Pioneers back on top 42-40 on the opening possession of the second half with a three, but Shawn Atupem(Newport News, VA/Woodside) quickly tied it with a layup. Will Holland (Houston, TX/Lamar) put the home team back ahead 47-46 with 15:20 to go with a three pointer. Howard tied it at 49-49 with 13:20 with a 15-foot jumper, but Holland put his team back in the lead, 51-49, with a spinning layup.
Holland made it 53-49 with a fast break layup off a SHU turnover with 10:59 to play. Atupem gave the Mount its largest lead at 57-52 with 8:15 to play. Beidler made it a six-point bulge at 59-53 with a layup with 6:20 left in the game. After the 12th Pioneer turnover of the game, Holland put the Mountaineers up eight with 5:25 to play.
Beidler threw in a hook from ten feet out over Hardy to make it a nine-point lead with 4:38 left that seemed to have the Pioneers on the ropes. Hassan answered for the Pioneers with 4:10 left on the clock. Atupem made two free throws with 3:20 left to push the lead back to nine, but Litke kept the Pioneer hopes alive with a three.
Hardy stole the ball on the next Mount possession and banked home a layup to make it 65-61. A Cajou miss gave the Pioneers the ball back but Henley was called for traveling trying to work his way into the basket with 2:00 left.
Hassan cut the Mount lead to 65-63 with 1:16 to play. Holland missed a three to give the Pioneers a chance to tie, but Howard missed a three for SHU with :25 left. Litke fouled Cajou on the rebound, sending him to the line. Cajou missed one of two to give the Pioneers a last chance to tie. Litke missed a three off the front of the rim and the Mount cleared the rebound down the floor to Beidler. Hardy was called for an intentional foul trying to cut him off and Beidler went to the line to finish the win for the Mountaineers.
Hassan led the Pioneers with 15 points, followed by 14 apiece from Henley and Howard.