MEDFORD, Mass. – The New England College men's basketball team's season comes to an end, as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers overcome a 16-point deficit to come away with a 58-57 win in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball first-round matchup, Friday afternoon at Cousen Gym.
Following the game, the Pilgrims end their season at 21-7 overall, while the Engineers improve to 24-4.
The Engineers started fast, as they got the first two baskets of the game, going up 4-0. Back-to-back layups from Izaiah Winston-Brooks and Jamal Allen tied the game up at 4-4. The two teams would trade baskets over the next few minutes, until Larry McKinney's layup with 5:10 remain, game the Pilgrims an 18-16 lead. A few minutes later, the NEC lead ballooned to 26-18, sending New England College into the halftime break up eight.
Coming out of the break, New England College started to pull away as they expanded their lead to as large as 16 (40-24) following a Calvin Cheek layup, with 17:06. The Pilgrims would maintain a 10+ point lead until RPI hit a pair of free throws with 8:26 left in regulation. The Engineers would continue to chip away at the deficit, as they got within three (50-47) with 7:09 to go, but a corner three-pointer by Cheek ended a 6-0 run by RPI. The Engineers eventually regained the lead with 2:27 left. The game would go down to the final shot, as the two teams traded buckets before the final minute. Stephen Fama drained a jumper from the free-throw line to give NEC the 57-56 lead, but a bucket in the paint by RPI with 21.8 in fourth. New England College had a chance for the win, as Jamal Allen's three with 3.0 left on the clock went wide, and the follow-up by Stephen Fama was just short.
Izaiah Winston-Brooks finished the night with 10 points for the Pilgrims. He wraps up his career with 1,757 points, placing him third all-time at New England College behind only Ryan Jaziri (1,861) and Dennis Dube (1,775).
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 15 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.
(Story courtesy of NEC Sports Information)