March 2, 2012

Men’s Basketball Defeats 12th Ranked William Paterson In NCAA Tournament

Wayne, N.J. – Freshman Jerome Cohen (Boston, Mass./Everett) paced Becker (24-4) with a career high 25 points and eight rebounds as the Hawks upset No. 12 William Paterson (24-5), 69-53, in the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament first round March 2.  Becker advances to play Scranton (21-7), a 70-67 overtime first-round winner against Messiah (20-7), in the second round Saturday, March 3, at 7:00 p.m. in Wayne.

Senior Rajai Leggett (New Haven, Conn./Sheehan) scored 17 points for the Hawks, while NECC Player of the Year Terrance Favors (Boston, Mass./Bedford) posted seven tallies and eight boards.  Sophomore Chris Canady (Newark, N.J./Newark East Side) had seven rebounds and three assists, and freshman Yahmad Rountree (Waterbury, Conn./Woodland) contributed seven points off the bench.

Junior guard Corey Chandler (Newark, N.J./Newark East Side) scored a game-best 32 points for the host Pioneers, adding six rebounds and three steals.  The NJAC Player of the Year, junior guard/forward Lance Brown (Teaneck, N.J./Paterson Catholic) collected six tallies and a team-best eight rebounds.

Tied at 25-25 at halftime, Becker blew the game open with a 13-2 second-half run, expanding a 45-42 lead with 10:11 to play into a 58-44 advantage with 4:20 left.  The Pioneers missed seven straight field goals and committed two turnovers during the stretch. 

During the final 20 minutes, Becker shot 51.6 (16-31) percent from the floor and out-rebounded William Paterson 28-14 while limiting the Pioneers to a .241 (7-29) field-goal percentage.

The Pioneers jumped to an early 11-4 lead after Chandler drove the lane and made a layup 5:20 into the contest.  Becker battled back, hitting on three consecutive shots to make it a one-point game (11-10, 12:15). 

William Paterson opened its lead up to six, 21-15, with 6:53 remaining in the half after Brown made a layup off a feed from Chandler.  The back-and-forth play continued, and a three-pointer by Donovin Ford-Hayes (Windsor Locks, Conn./Windsor Locks) gave Becker a 25-23 edge with 2:41 remaining in the first half.  Two Chandler free throws with 1:25 on the clock knotted the score at 25-25, and the two teams combined for three misses and a trio of turnovers to end the period.

Overall, Becker enjoyed a 47-35 rebounding advantage, and out-scored William Paterson 32-18 in the paint and 16-6 off turnovers.  The Hawks finished with a 44.1 (26-59) field-goal percentage and the Pioneers were just 16-for-57 (.281) from the floor.

Becker will return to action tomorrow at 7:00pm, when they play Scranton University. The Hawks defeated the Royals 80-73 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last season.