Monday, March 07, 2016

Chattanooga: 2015-16 Southern Men's Basketball Champions

Chattanooga is going to the NCAA Tournament. The Mocs became the first top-seeded team in a conference tournament to clinch an automatic bid by outlasting East Tennessee State 73-67 in the Southern Conference Tournament title game on Monday night. It caps an impressive rookie season from first year head coach and longtime Billy Donovan disciple Matt McCall.
Chattanooga held a 12-point advantage out of halftime, but ETSU just wouldn't go away, riding a 10-0 run to pull within one just 12 minutes into the second half. From there, the Buccaneers played the role of pests to Chattanooga's efforts at pulling away, coming up with timely stops through the second half to keep things close. ETSU's T.J. Cromer and head coach Steve Forbes both drew technical fouls on the same play with four minutes remaining, which handed Chattanooga four free throws to increase their lead to 65-57.
That second half push proved to be the difference, as the Mocs managed to tamp down on ETSU's shooters, who went lethally frigid from the charity stripe, to seal off the win. Chattanooga's Greg Pryor and Tre' McLean led all Mocs scorers with 13 points apiece.
Chattanooga returns to the Big Dance after a seven-year hiatus dating back to 2009. The Mocs enjoyed a run of March Madness appearances in the 1990s, earning four bids from 1993 to 1997.

UNC Wilmington: 2015-16 Colonial Men's Basketball Champions

BALTIMORE -- UNC Wilmington won its first Colonial Athletic Association title in 10 years and earned a trip to the NCAA tournament, getting 20 points from Craig Ponder in an 80-73 overtime victory over top-seeded Hofstra on Monday night.
The game was tied before a three-point play by Seahawks freshman C.J. Brycemade it 76-73 with 1:20 left in overtime. After a Hofstra misfire, Denzel Ingramdrilled a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining to clinch the comeback victory.
Chris Flemmings scored 19 for second-seeded UNCW (25-7) and Ingram added 17.
Rokas Gustys had 18 points and 23 rebounds for the Pride (24-9), and Ameen Tanksley scored 24. Hofstra was seeking its first CAA championship; the Pride last played in the NCAA tournament in 2001 after winning the American East.

Iona Gaels: 2015-16 Metro Atlantic Men's Basketball Champions

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A.J. English hit a fadeway jumper with 1:39 left to break a tie and Deyshonee Much followed with a driving layup that he converted into a three-point play, and second-seeded Iona beat top-seeded Monmouth 79-76 on Monday night to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament title and the NCAA tournament berth that goes with it.

The Hawks (27-7), who joined the MAAC in 2013, were seeking their first tournament appearance since 2006 when they were members of the Northeast Conference. They entered the title game on a five-game winning streak and had won 13 of 14 in a storybook season, the lone loss coming at Iona (22-10).

With a solid resume, the Hawks were still in the running for an at-large bid and the MAAC has twice had multiple bids (1995, 2012).