The University of Mary Washington men’s basketball team advances to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament for the second time in program history, taking on Springfield College, who finished 20-7 on the season, and advanced as an at-large selection to the tournament. The Eagles are 22-5 on the season, having won the Capital Athletic Conference championship on Saturday for the second time (the first being in 2002-03).
Mary Washington enters today’s game on a four-game win streak, having defeated St. Mary’s College, 70-65, and Christopher Newport, 65-48, in the semifinals and finals of the CAC Tournament. The Eagles are ranked 17th in the nation by D3Hoops.com, and been ranked as high as 12th this season, tying their highest rank ever.
The Eagles are led by first team All-CAC senior guard BRADLEY RIESTER (Richmond, Va./Monacan), who led the CAC with 18.0 PPG this season. Riester ranks second in the nation in three point baskets made, with 98, and is shooting 46.1 % from the field (152-330), including 43.6 % from distance (98-225). He also adds 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest,
Junior forward TAYLOR JOHNSON (Ashburn, Va. / Broad Run), a second team All-CAC performer, scores 13.7 PPG, and leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game. Johnson shoots 44.1 % from the field (112-254), including 42.2 % from three point range (57-135). He nets two assists per game.
All-CAC senior forward DYLAN FARINET (Westmoreland, Va./Colonial Beach) scores 13.2 PPG, and adds 6.4 rebounds per contest, adding 3.3 assists. On January 18 against Penn State Harrisburg, Farinet scored a school-record 42 points on 14-21 shooting, making 8-12 three pointers. In the game, he also led the team with 12 rebounds and five assists.
Senior guard DOM MORRA (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) averages 7.9 PPG and 4.2 assists per game. Morra also corrals 2.1 steals per contest.
Senior forward DAJON DANIEL (Fredericksburg, Va./Mountain View) averages 11.2 points per game. Daniel shoots a team-high 56.8% from the field (109-192), and broke the school single game shooting percentage record this year with an 11-11 performance on February 8 against Salisbury University.
The Pride enter with a 20-7 overall record, falling in the finals of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference to MIT, 67-56. Springfield sees five players average in double figures in scoring per game, led by seniors ROBBIE BURKE at 14.2 PPG and SEAN MARTIN at 11.7 PPG. Sophomore ALEX GARTSKA scores 10.9 PPG, senior TIM SWENSON averages 10.4 PPG, and junior NICK SIENKEWICZ adds 10..3 PPG.
The Pride average 77.7 PPG, and outscore their opponents by 10.0 PPG. Springfield shoots 48.1% from the floor, and 38.8% from three point range. The Pride outrebound their opponents by 3.9 rebounds per contest.
The teams, despite being located 417 miles apart, do have a common opponent in Hampden-Sydney College this season. The Eagles fell at HSC in the third game of the season on November 22, 66-65, on a three pointer at the buzzer. The Pride fell to Hampden-Sydney, 89-82, in overtime, eight days later.
The Last Time Out...
UMW won its second Capital Athletic Conference championship last Saturday, defeating Christopher Newport University, 65-48. The Eagles shot a torrid 57.9% from the field in the game (22-38), making 11-23 three pointers, and went 10-16 from the free throw line. CNU shot 40.9% (18-44) making 4-23 three pointers, and was 8-13 from the line. The Eagles led in rebounds, 28-20. Bradley Riester led all scorers with 14 points on 5-7 shooting, including 4-5 three pointers. Taylor Johnson scored 11 points and added seven rebounds, and Dylan Farinet scored 11 and grabbed six rebounds. Dom Morra added 10 points for UMW. CNU was led by Tim Daly and Mike Cherry, who each scored 10 points.
Springfield College fell short of winning the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship on Sunday afternoon as MIT prevailed in a 67-56 contest at WPI’s Harrington Auditorium. Tournament Most Outstanding Player Andrew Acker (Marion Station, Pa.) posted a double-double to headline four MIT players in double figures to help the fourth-seeded Engineers knock off third-seeded Springfield. The title is the fourth all-time for MIT - all in the last six years - and gives the Engineers (20-8) an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Springfield, who was appearing in its third straight title tilt, slips to 20-7 overall. Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) paced all scorers with 24 points for Springfield. The senior connected on 9-of-16 attempts from the field and knocked down all six free throws attempts while totaling four boards, three assists and a steal. Classmate Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) was the other Springfield player with 12 points to go along with five rebounds and fellow senior Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) had a strong performance totaling a team-high eight rebounds and six points.
Tonight’s game is a homecoming of sorts for three Eagle players. Senior guar Bradley Riester attended Monacan High School in Richmond, and freshmen John Lutkenhaus and Asa Scott both graduated last year from Douglas Freeman High School in Richmond. In addition, UMW head coach Rod Wood, in his 18th season, returns to his alma mater in Randolph-Macon to coach today’s game. Wood, RMC class of 1985, was an all-region guard for legendary head coach Hal Nunnally when the Yellow Jackets were a Division II program form 1981-85. Wood’s college roommate was current Wichita State University head coach Gregg Marshall, who has led the Shockers to a 31-0 overall record this season.
Mary Washington is making its second NCAA Tournament appearance, having advanced to the first round in 2003 after defeating Catholic in the CAC title game. The Eagles fell at Alvernia in the first round. Springfield is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance, and fourth under 16th year head coach Charlie Brock. Brock has led three different schools to the NCAA Tournament in his 34 year coaching career. The Pride made the tournament in 2000 and 2005, and again last year, falling to Ithaca College in the first round under Brock.
University of Mary Washington
Enrollment: 4,000 undergraduates
Head Coach: Rod Wood
Alma Mater: Randolph-Macon, ‘85
Career Record: 271-200
Year at UMW/Overall: 18th
Capital Athletic Conference Regular Season Finish: 2nd (12-4)
CAC Tournament Champions
Previous NCAA expeience: 2003 - first round (lost at Alvernia, 58-53)
One of the top NCAA Division III athletic programs in the nation, the University of Mary Washington has become known as an institution that succeeds both athletically and academically. Since 1976, UMW has expanded its program from six sports to 23. Over that time, the Eagles have produced more than 250 All-Americans, played in more than 175 NCAA Tournament events, and developed the Battleground Athletic Complex, where five NCAA National Championship events have been held.
22 of the school’s teams have advanced to NCAA National Tournament action. Three women’s tennis teams have brought home national championships, and field hockey, men’s soccer, and women’s soccer have advanced to and hosted national championship events. The 2001 and 2002 women’s lacrosse teams also advanced to the NCAA Final Four, as did the 2007 women’s basketball team.
UMW’s success in the Capital Athletic Conference is beyond compare. The CAC, which was formed in 1990, is a coalition of four-year co-educational institutions with similar educational and athletic philosophies. In the 20-year history of the league, UMW has won the all-sports award, given to the top all-around program, 11 times. The Eagles have brought home league titles in 17 of the CAC’s 18 sanctioned sports.
Eighteen UMW athletes have gone on to play professionally, and many more have played on touring and semi-professional club teams after graduation. The success UMW athletes have achieved after graduation also is a testament to the quality education one receives at the Fredericksburg institution. As a public, state-supported university, UMW has been identified as one of the top educational values in the nation. The Fiske Guide to Colleges, Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, and U.S. News have all cited Mary Washington for its strong liberal arts and sciences education.