Men's Basketball Earns Fourth Straight ECAC Bid

Men's Basketball Earns Fourth Straight ECAC Bid

CENTERVILLE, Mass. – After finishing the season with a 16-11 record and making a fourth straight trip to the semifinal round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament, the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team has been selected to play in the 2013 ECAC Division III New England Basketball Tournament. The fifth-seeded Leopards, who are making their fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament (fifth overall) will travel to Castleton, Vt., to face the fourth-seeded Castleton Spartans in a quarterfinal round contest on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.

Westfield State (21-5) earned the number one seed and will host eighth-seeded Emerson (15-11). Second-seeded Anna Maria (20-8) hosts seventh-seeded Southern Maine (15-12), while third-seeded Eastern Connecticut (19-8) will host seventh-seeded Johnson & Wales (15-12). All quarterfinal round games will be played on Wednesday, with the four winners advancing to the semifinals on Saturday and championship game on Sunday. The weekend games will be played at the highest remaining seed after Wednesday's games.

Wentworth sat at 9-7 before going on a season-high six-game win streak from January 23 until February 10. However, the Black & Gold suffered a three-game losing streak to close out the regular season before defeating Nichols, 73-69, in the CCC quarterfinals before losing to Gordon, 73-54, in the semifinal round.

The Leopards are paced by a pair of All-CCC selections in junior guard Derek Mayo (Casco, Maine) and senior guard Colin Johnson (El Dorado Hills, Calif.). Mayo, a first team selection, is averaging 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.0 steals per game while Johnson, and honorable mention all-conference selection leads the team in scoring with a 14.2 ppg average and has made 53 3-pointers in 27 games.

Senior forward Corey Therriault (Auburn, Maine) averages 8.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Sophomore guard Nico Donato (Glastonbury, Conn.) averages 2.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, while sophomore forward John-Michael Fragnoli (Scotia, N.Y.) averages 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. As a team the Leopards are outrebounding their opponents by an average of 2.5 caroms per contest and rank 48th in Division III with 9.5 steals per game.

A year after making an NCAA Tournament appearance, Castleton is making its first ECAC appearance since 2007 as the Spartans lost to Husson, 74-68, in the championship game of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament. Castleton enters the game having won seven of its last nine contests and is seventh in the country in 3-point field goals made per game as the Spartans have connected on 9.6 shots from behind the arc per game. The Spartans also rank 22nd in te country in scoring offense, averaging 80.1 points per game and 44th in steals per game, averaging 9.6 steals per contest.

This marks just the second time these two programs have played each other. On January 8, 1985, during Wentworth's first season competing at the NCAA level, the two teams met in Castleton, Vt., with the Spartans winning, 116-69.

Wentworth is 1-4 in five previous ECAC Tournament games and will be looking to snap a four-game tournament losing streak. In addition to qualifying in each of the last three seasons, the Black & Gold advanced to the semifinals during the 1998 campaign.

You can follow the game through live stats and via Castleton's video feed.

2013 ECAC DIVISION III NEW ENGLAND BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Quarterfinals – Wednesday, Feb. 27
No. 8 Emerson College (15-11) at No. 1 Westfield State (21-5), 7:00 p.m.
No. 7 University of Southern Maine (15-12) at No. 2 Anna Maria College (20-8), 7:00 p.m.
No. 6 Johnson & Wales University (15-12) at No. 3 Eastern Connecticut State University (19-8), 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Wentworth Institute of Technology (16-11) at No. 4 Castleton State College (16-12), 7:30 p.m.

Semifinals – Saturday, Mar. 2 at highest remaining seed
No. 1/No. 8 winner vs. No. 4/5 winner, TBA
No. 2/No. 7 winner vs. No. 3/6 winner, TBA

Championship – Sunday, Mar. 3 at highest remaining seed
Two Semifinal Winners, TBA