Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College men's basketball team, which defeated Salisbury, 60-47, on Saturday in the NCAA Division III Championship Second Round to improve to 22-6, has advanced to the NCAA Sectionals at Babson College on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. The Bantams will play New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Bates College, whom they won against, 66-59, during the regular season, in the NCAA Third Round Friday at 5:30 p.m., while the host Babson Beavers will face Johns Hopkins. The winners will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday and Sunday's victor will advance to the NCAA Semifinals and Finals in Salem, Va. the following weekend.
Trinity finished as the top seed in the NESCAC Championship Tournament for the third time with a 9-1 league mark, and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. The Bantams, coached by James Cosgrove (5th Season) were selected as a host site for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament and downed Colby-Sawyer on Friday, 60-55, before defeating Salisbury last evening. Trinity is making its eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, beginning 20 years ago when the Bantams won four games to reach the 1994-95 NCAA Final Four. Trinity own a 10-8 all-time record in the tourney and has been to the third round twice, the quarterfinals twice, and the Final Four once prior to this winter.
Junior guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) had a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the second half, in the win over Salisbury to vault the Bantams to the NCAA Third Round for the first time since 1998-99. Starks made four three-pointers in seven attempts and sank all six of his free throws, while senior tri-captain center George Papadeas (Athens, Greece) and junior forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 12 points apiece. Papadeas also grabbed a game-high seven boards and blocked a shot, while Ajayi grabbed six boards and made three steals. Bantam senior tri-captain Hart Gliedman (New York, N.Y.) and junior guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) dished five assists each, and Hurd added three steals on Saturday night.
Trinity tops the NESCAC in scoring defense (62.2 ppg), is tied for the league lead in field-goal percentage defense (.382, 14th in nation), and is second in rebounding margin (+7.3 per game, 16th in nation). Starks ranks 11th in the NESCAC in scoring with 13.6 ppg, while sophomore forward Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Ajayi are seventh and 13th in rebounding, respectively, at 7.8 and 6.3 per game. Starks is tied for second in the league in free-throw percentage at .895 (102-114, 21st in nation) and fourth in three-point field-goal percentage at .427 (61-143). Ajayi is tied for fifth in the conference in steals with 1.6 per game, followed by Hurd who is tied for seventh with 1.5 per contest, and Ogundeko is tied for fifth in blocked shots with 1.4 per game. Ajayi averages 9.9 ppg, while Ogundeko is scoring 9.3 ppg, and Papadeas averages 8.1 ppg. Gliedman and junior Rick Naylor (Sudbury, Vt.) are outstanding defensively on the wing and have combined to average 9.5 ppg and make 44 off 118 three-pointers between them. Ogundeko, Naylor, Hurd, who leads Trinity in assists with 90, senior tri-captain forward Steve Spirou (Pelham, N.H.), and sophomore swingman Chris Turnbull (Ridgewood, N.J.) give Trinity a stellar second unit.
Bates, coached by Jon Furbush (5th Season), is 21-6 after defeating host Stockton, 68-59, in overtime in its NCAA Second Round game yesterday. The Bobcats had won, 92-80, over St. Vincent on Friday night in its first-ever NCAA game, after being upset at home, 66-59, against Wesleyan in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. Senior Graham Safford and junior Mike Boornazian are combining to score over 30 ppg, while Marcus and Malcolm Delpeche are totaling 12.7 rebounds between them. Papadeas and Starks had 12 points apiece in the Bantam win over the Bobcats on January 16.