Mount St. Mary's and Milwaukee punch their tickets to the NCAA Tournament
Mount St. Mary's 88, Robert Morris 71: The Robert Morris Colonials are headed to the NIT again, and they can't be all that happy about it. Despite playing on their home floor and holding the No. 1 seed (with a 14-2 conference record) in the NEC, Mount St. Mary's (16-16, 9-7 NEC) blitzed Robert Morris to steal away an NCAA Tournament bid.
The Mountaineers, led by 31-year-old second-year head coach Jamion Christian, were hot from the floor early and showed no signs of slowing down. Mount St. Mary's shot 60.4 percent on the day and hit eight of its 18 three-point attempts. Robert Morris tried to get back in it, getting the Mountaineers' lead down to 57-47 with 12:44 to play, but the comeback wasn't meant to be. The Colonials seemed frustrated, oftentimes looking like they were trying to get it all back in a single possession.
Christian, a former William & Mary and VCU assistant, took the job in 2012 and went 18-14 a year ago. The Mountaineers beat Robert Morris in the NEC tournament last year as well, sending the Colonials to the NIT, where they beat Kentucky in the first round. Mount St. Mary's had five players in double figures in the win, including 20 points from senior Rashad Whack.
Milwaukee 69, Wright State 63: The miracle week for the Panthers ended in the team's fourth Horizon League title and first NCAA Tournament berth since 2006. After dropping Detroit, Valpo and top-seeded Green Bay in overtime, Milwaukee upset the Raiders on their home floor.
The Panthers had lost nine straight games at the Nutter Center but were aided by some big three-point baskets in the first half that kept Wright State from being able to control the tempo. The Raiders were at their best this year when they were holding teams in the 40s and 50s, but the Panthers -- despite shooting just 32.5 percent on threes this season -- got enough of them to fall in the Horizon final. Wright State was unable to cut far enough into the lead after Milwaukee went through a long scoring drought in the second half. The Panthers hit critical free throws down the stretch (16-of-18 on the day) to seal the win. Kyle Kelm led the way for the Panthers with 20 points and nine rebounds.