FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Courtesy of Albertus Magnus Athletics Communications
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Junior Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn.) was named the Great Northeast Athletics Conference (GNAC) Tournament Most Valuable Player as he tallied 22 points, three assists and eight rebounds as the Albertus Magnus College men's basketball team defeated Lasell College, 101-83, on Saturday afternoon in the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament Championship in New Haven, Conn.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Over the first four minutes play, both teams went through three leads changes until a layup from Grant Ellis (Newark, N.J.) gave the hosts a four-point cushion, 13-9, at the 14:52 mark. Lasell battled back and regained the lead, 14-13, but Albertus put together a short spurt to extend its lead 18-14.
Lasell cut the Falcons' lead to within one, 20-19, before a fast break layup from Shaquille Mitchell (Linden, N.J.) sparked a 7-0 run to give the hosts a 27-19 lead with 9:17 remaining. Following three ties, two from the Lasers and one from the Falcons, the visitors took control of the game and would hold a 45-44 lead at the half.
Albertus opened the second half with a 9-3 run to take a five-point lead, 53-48, but Lasell tied the game for the sixth time, 53-53, four minutes in. Up by eight, 61-53, Albertus slowly began picking up momentum and found themselves up 14, 75-61, with 7:52 remaining.
From that point on, Lasell could only play catch-up as the Lasers final threat of the game was at the 5:48 mark. Dannie Moore cut the hosts' lead to within nine, 77-68, but with a minute remaining Albertus would hold a 20-point lead before securing the title.
FIRST HALF STATS
- Compared the second half, Albertus shot better in the first shooting 54.8 percent from the floor while Lasell shot 54.8 percent.
- Grant Ellis (Newark, N.J.) scored 19 of his 31 points in the first.
- Lasell held a 19-11 edge over the Falcons in rebounding, but Albertus managed to force eight visitor turnovers, compared to their seven.
- Tim Blair and Derek McMahon total 28 of the Lasers' 45 points.
SECOND HALF STATS
- John Powell was the only Laser to score in double-figures in the second half with 11 points.
- Ellis, Mitchell and Walters total a combined 48 of the Falcons' 57 points.
- Albertus improved in the second outrebounding the visitors 20-18.
- Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) led the Falcons with four assists and two steals.
- The Falcons closed out the final 20 minutes of play, outscoring the Lasers by a 19-point margin.
- Senior Grant Ellis (Newark, N.J.) led the offensive unit with 31 points while shooting 13-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-8 from behind the arc, to go along with two rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
- Shaq Mitchell (Linden, N.J.) also scored in double-figures as the senior tallied 29 points as well as shot 100 percent (9-of-9) from the free-throw line.
- Four of the Lasers' five starters all finished in double-figures, including a 21-point performance from Tim Blair.
- Albertus finished the game shooting an impressive 54.5 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from the charity stripe.
- This championship game saw six tie and a total of 10 lead changes.
- Kevin Conner - Mount Ida
- Anthony Jernigan – JWU
- Yordon Villalon – Lasell
- John Powell – Lasell
- Shaq Mitchell – Albertus
- Grant Ellis – Albertus
- Jaqhawn Walters – Albertus (MVP of the GNAC Tournament)
With the win, Albertus earns a spot in the Division III NCAA Tournament. The Falcons will find out who they will face in the first-round during the Division III Selection Show on Monday, Feb.27th at noon.