Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College men's basketball team, coached by James Cosgrove (8th Season), has qualified for the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Men's Basketball Championship Tournament for the 16th time and the fifth year in a row. Trinity is seeded No. 7 in the eight-team field and will visit the No. 2-seeded Williams College Ephs on Saturday, February 17 at 3 p.m. in the quarterfinal round. The Bantams finished the 2017-18 season with a 15-9 overall record and finished tied with Bowdoin for seventh place in the league with 4-6 mark against NESCAC opponents. The winner of the NESCAC Championship Tournament will determine the league's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. Top-seeded Amherst (16-8, 7-3) plays No. 8-seeded Bowdoin (15-8, 4-6), No. 3-seeded Hamilton (20-3, 7-3) hosts No. 6-seeded Tufts (17-7, 6-4), and No. 4-seeded Wesleyan (19-5, 7-3) hosts No. 5-seeded Middlebury (19-5, 7-3) in the other first round games on Saturday. The highest remaining seed after the quarterfinal round will host the semifinal and final rounds on February 24 and 25.
The Bantams are 5-0 in their last five quarterfinal contests and look to advance to the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. The Bantams have one NESCAC Championship to their credit, winning the title in 2008. The Ephs are the No. 2 seed for the fifth time overall and first time since 2014. Williams suffered just one loss in its first nine games of the year and finished the regular season with an 8-2 mark over its final 10 games. Last year's NESCAC Runner-Up, Williams has won four NESCAC Championships, with the last title coming in 2010. Williams is 2-0 versus the Bantams in the NESCAC Championship. The two teams last faced each other in the 2011 semifinals, with the Ephs earning a 79-69 victory. Trinity trailed Williams by one point late in the second half before the Ephs pulled away for earned a 75-58 win in Hartford on January 26. Trinity closed the regular season with two wins in their last seven games.
Trinity ranks among the stingiest defenses in the league, allowing opponents just a .377 field-goal percentage (3rd in NESCAC) and a .299 three-point, field-goal percentage (2nd in NESCAC). Sophomore guard Christian Porydzy (South Glastonbury, Conn.) ranks fourth in the NESCAC in assists with 3.5 per game and 10th in steals with 1.3 per game, while senior co-captain G/FEric Gendron adds 3.3 assists per contest (8th in NESCAC) and a .797 free-throw percentage (10th in NESCAC). Junior F/G Jeremy Arthur (Westbury, N.Y.) leads the Bantams in scoring with 11.3 ppg, followed by Gendron at 11.2 ppg, while junior forward Connor Merinder (Andover, Mass.) adds a team-high 4.7 boards per contest. Trinity is the deepest team in the conference with 12 players averaging eight minutes or more per game. Seven different Bantams have led the team in scoring in a game this winter, and eight different players have led the team in rebounding in a game. Gendron had 18 points and five boards against Williams on January 26.
Williams, coached by Kevin App, is 19-5 and ranked No. 2 in the Northeast and No. 9 in the nation after closing the regular season with an 81-67 road win against No. 15-ranked Hamilton. The Ephs lead the conference in field-goal shooting at .472 percent and in scoring defense with 62.9 ppg allowed. Sophomore forward James Heskett (Cincinnati, Ohio) leads the Ephs in scoring with 19.4 ppg, while junior guard Bobby Casey (Scranton, Pa.) adds 16.1 ppg. Sophomore center Matt Karpowicz (Wellesley, Mass.) is Williams' leading rebounder with 5.6 per game. Heskett had 34 points and Casey had 12 points in the regular-season game between the Ephs and the Bantams in Hartford.