Middletown, Connecticut – senior guard dom black Scored 26 points with seven rebounds, classmate Mason Millar He had 23 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists and the top defensive team in Division III ranked sixth in attack to 58 as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s basketball team defeated Nichols College 78-58 in a first-round game of the NCAA Championship At the Silloway Gymnasium on the Wesleyan University campus.
RPI, now 22-5, advances to the second round for the second consecutive season and faces either the host Cardinals or Husson University on Saturday at 7:40 p.m. The Bison concludes the campaign at 25-4.
The Engineers, who entered the game and allowed 57.5 points per contest, outperformed Nichols 48-30 in the second half. They held Payson 29.7 percent (11 of 37) in the final 20 minutes to keep them below their season average per game (89.2). RPI connected 57.1% of his shots (16 of 28) and went 13 of 14 (92.8%) from the free throw line in the second frame.
The first half was tight throughout with neither team leading by more than six points. The two teams split the first 22 points after seven minutes of the game and the Engineers advanced 13-11 with Black’s pass once after Will Fredericks dipping. Mimlar, striker, made it six points with a hook at 11:22 and a Johnny Engbazu The baseline dunk put the RPI ahead 17-11 after two minutes.
The Bison answered with a 6-0 lead before Millar called on the vault near the foul line. This was a 6-2 stretch start for Rensselaer, but a triple pointer from Jaekwon Spencer pulled Nichols into one, 23-22. RPI’s Brian Kelly He scored a rebound to lead 25-22, but Bison saved it 6-2 to lead 28-27 with 1:37 to play.
Black hit a corner kick three minutes after Mimlar’s serve and so the half ended, 30-28 in Rensselaer’s favour.
Engineers fired 12 of 33 rounds from the floor (36.4%) in the first half, while Nichols made contact on 12 of 31 (38.7%). Both teams reduced 20 rebounds, while Mimlar grabbed four rebounds.
The score remained one possession after the first 1:30 of the second half, but a Memmelaar corner kick and a hat-trick from Black put RPI ahead by eight points (41-33) at the four-minute mark. A pair of free throws from Nichols’ Jakigh Dottin made it 41-35, but Memmelaar scored from the jump and a pair of free throws before a quick break by Black increased the advantage to 12 points, 47-35, with 14 minutes to play.
The Bison used 7-0 to run within 47-42 with 10:50 to play but Memmelaar and Black combined for five points to push the lead to two numbers, 52-42. Nichols cut the score to seven points on two separate occasions, including at Matt Morrow’s paintball goal seven minutes left, but once again RPI thwarted a comeback attempt. Black scored on a layup, Engbazu was dipping and Mimellar fired a shot from behind the arc to score 61-47 with 4:42 to go. The lead remained double the rest of the way and came to 20 points (78-58) on Fredericks’ throw with 32 seconds remaining.
Black was connected in 9 of 16 shots including 3 out of 4 from three point range and 5 out of 5 from the free throw line for high honors in the game. Two of his seven rebounds came on the offensive glass, while Mimellar had three offensive rebounds between his 10th match high. He made eight of his 17 shots from the ground and all six attempts from the foul streak. His five passes tied him to second place in the team Will RobinWhich added 14 points. Engbazu scored six assists, six rebounds and seven points.
RPI collected 24 assists in 28 made baskets, while turning the ball only 11 times. Nichols has 14 spins and 13 assists in 23 made hoops.
Four players reached double figures for Bison, led by Tahseen Dupree and Jason O’Regan, both of whom scored 13 goals.