Delaware sneaks by William & Mary for NCAA bid; more Monday hoops
Three more teams punched their tickets to the NCAA tournament on Monday with a trio of thrilling conference championship games.
Delaware 75, William & Mary 74: Things weren't looking so hot for Delaware to claim a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999. The Blue Hens trailed William & Mary 74-68 with 1:20 left to play, but that's when they decided to come alive. Carl Baptiste, who dropped in a career-high 24 points, laid in the winning bucket with 10 seconds remaining to help claim the Colonial Athletic Association crown for Delaware and send the Blue Hens dancing.
The Tribe shot 53 percent from the field but couldn't close in the final moments for its first-ever NCAA tournament bid. Now Delaware heads to its first NCAA tournament in 15 years, but history won't be on the Hens' side once the field of 68 kicks off. The program qualified for the tournament on four previous occasions (1992, 1993, 1998 and 1999), but it has a 0-4 record in tournament games.
Manhattan 71, Iona 68: Manhattan poured in a balanced scoring effort and shook off 14 turnovers to subdue Iona and take home the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship, its first since 2004.
George Beamon scored 16 points for the Jaspers and was one of four players to notch double-figure points on Monday as his squad won for the 11th time in 12 games. Manhattan led by six at the half and by as many as 10 points in the second period, but Iona made things tight with a late rally. A.J. English threw down a dunk with 18 seconds left to bring the Gaels within two points. But the Jaspers knocked down free throws and avoided a game-tying 3-pointer as time expired.
Wofford 56, Western Carolina 53: In its past two games, Western Carolina had erased double-digit deficits and rallied to win. That luck ran out against Wofford on Monday as the Terriers claimed the Southern Conference title in Asheville. It'll be the third appearance in the NCAA tournament in the last five years for Wofford. The Catamounts entered the second half facing a seven-point deficit, but gradually fought back and climbed to within one point on a 3-pointer by Brandon Boggs with six seconds to play. After Karl Cochran calmly knocked down two free throws for a three-point cushion, Wofford's Trey Sumler clanked a potential game-winning trey off the iron.