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Trinity Men's Basketball Weekly Preview: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 (Bates)

Trinity Men's Basketball Weekly Preview: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 (Bates)

Trinity Men's Basketball Weekly Preview

This Week: The Trinity College men's basketball team defeated Colby-Sawyer and Salisbury in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament last week. Serving as the host, the Bantams knocked out the Chargers in the opening round and used a stout defensive effort to eliminate the Seagulls to advance to the Sweet 16. This week, the Bantams will travel to the Bay State to meet New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Bates on Friday. The winner of Friday's tilt will take on the winner of the Babson-Johns Hopkins game for a trip to the Final Four.

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Trinity (22-6)
vs. Bates (21-6)
Friday, Mar. 13, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.
Staake Gymnasium at Babson College
Babson Park, Mass.

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Last Meeting with the Bobcats: Trinity held off a second-half rally by Bates to score a 66-59 victory at home during the regular season. Three players scored in double figures for the Bantams as George Papadeas and Jaquann Starks each netted 10 points, while Andrew Hurd added 10 off the bench. Graham Safford led the offensive attack for the Bobcats with a game-high 13 points. Trinity controlled the glass in the contest, outrebounding Bates, 42-32.  

Scouting Bates: Bates is in its first Division III tournament (and second NCAA tournament appearance, after the 1961 NCAA College Division Tournament team). The Bobcats are 9-5 away from this winter and topped Stockton, 68-59, in overtime last weekend to advance. Safford was named to the All-NESCAC First Team this season as he averages a team-high 15.7 points per tilt. Mike Boornazian is a threat offensively for the Bobcats, averaging 15.5 points and just north of five rebounds per contest.

Game Notes:
- The men's basketball team is making its eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament, advancing for the first time since 2008. The Bantams have advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999.
- Trinity clinched the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Championship Tournament with a 9-1 mark in league play during the regular season. It marked the third time in program history and the first time since 2002 the Bantams sat atop the standings heading into the postseason. The Bantams took the regular season crown by two games as Bowdoin and Bates finished tied for second with a 7-3 record in conference play.
- The Bantams are receiving votes in the latest poll. Trinity is one of two NESCAC teams represented in the poll as Bates also received votes. The Bantams have received votes in the poll eight times this winter.
- In its opening round game, Trinity erased a 16-point first half deficit to defeat Colby Sawyer, 60-55. The Bantams took their first lead at 35-34 almost five minutes into the second stanza, and closed out the game with a 7-2 run over the final three minutes. Four Bantams finished in double figures, as senior Alex Conaway and junior Jaquann Starks had 11 points, while junior Shay Ajayi added 10 to join senior George Papadeas.
- In the second round contest versus Salisbury, Trinity jumped out to a 13-point halftime lead, and never looked back in a 70-57 victory. Starks poured in a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the second half, to lead the Bantams. Ajayi and Papadeas also contributed 12 points each, as Trinity advanced to the NCAA Third Round for the first time since 1998-99.
- This season, the Trinity balanced offensive attack has seen three or players score in double figures in a game 22 times. Trinity is 7-1 this winter when four or more players scored at least 10 points.
- Trinity is 2-0 in overtime games this season and is 12-3 in tilts outside of Hartford this winter.  
- The Bantams enter the Sweet 16 leading the NESCAC in scoring defense this year, surrendering just over 62 points per game. Trinity is also tops in the league in field goal percentage defense (38.2 %) and is second in the NESCAC in rebounding margin (+8.2).
- Since losing at Cortland State in the Cortaca Classic on November 22, Trinity has won 20 of 24 games, highlighted by its current two-game winning streak. During that stretch, the squad have won seven games by double figures.
- Trinity started the year with back-to-back games scoring at least 80 points for the first time under fifth-year Head Coach James Cosgrove. The last time the Bantams opened a season with two straight games scoring 80 or more points was during the 2004-05 campaign.

NCAA Tournament Bracket

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