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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: February 17, 2007
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. --- The Colby College men's basketball team is headed to the New England Small College Athletic Conference Final Four after taking a 91-79 overtime win over Middlebury College on Saturday.
The fifth-seeded Mules, winners of five straight games, will play at top-seeded Amherst College in a semifinal game at 2 p.m. next Saturday. Trinity, the second seed, and third-seeded Williams will play in the other semifinal at Amherst immediately following the Colby/Amherst game. The semifinal winners play Sunday at noon at Amherst for the league title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Colby (15-10) last played in the NESCAC semifinals in the 2000-2001 season, the inaugural year for the league playoffs. Ironically, the Mules beat Middlebury in a quarterfinal game and then fell to Amherst in the semifinal by a 61-46 margin.
Drew Cohen continued his late season surge with 26 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Mules. Cohen is averaging 20.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots during Colby's five-game winning streak. He was named to the D3hoops.com National Team of the Week and earned NESCAC and ECAC honors for his play last week.
Nick Farrell, a co-captain along with Cohen, also continued his solid play with 22 points (four 3-point shots) and five rebounds. Mac Simpson added 14 points and five rebounds, Adam Choice had 12 points and seven boards, Michael Westbrooks finished with eight points and eight rebounds and Artie Cutrone contributed nine points. Westbrooks also had a team-best three assists and is now at 201 for his career.
Defense and free throw shooting were keys to the game for Colby. The Mules held Middlebury (15-10) to just 37.5 percent shooting after the Panthers shot 58 percent against Colby during the regular season game between the two teams. The Mules also were 22-for-30 from the foul line, including an 11-for-13 effort in the overtime period, compared to Middlebury's 4-for-7 finish for the game from the line.
After falling behind 57-43 with 13:12 left in the second half, Colby battled back with a 21-7 run to tie the game at 64-64 on a Farrell 3-point shot with 5:15 remaining. Middlebury, though, pulled away again and held a 72-67 lead when Ben Rudin hit a jumper with 1:31 left. Cohen went to work and scored the last five points --- a 3-point play with 1:04 remaining and then two free throws with 40 seconds left. After Middlebury missed on a jumper with 13 seconds left, Farrell missed on a 3-point shot at the buzzer.
Westbrooks put Colby up for good in the extra session with a lay-up with 3:53 left for a 76-74 lead. Farrell scored with 2:46 remaining for an 80-74 lead and then the Mules hit 11-for-12 from the foul line the rest of the game to pull away.
Andrew Harris led Middlebury with 21 ponts and nine rebounds. The Panthers pumped up 31 3-point shots and made just nine.
COLBY 91, MIDDLEBURY 79
Drew Cohen 8-18 10-14 26; Nick Farrell 7-16 4-5 22; Mac Simpson 3-9 6-8 14; Adam Choice 6-8 0-0 12; Artie Cutrone 4-6 0-1 9; Michael Westbrooks 3-7 2-2 8. Totals 31-64 22-30 91.
Andrew Harris 8-19 0-0 21; Tim Edwards 7-16 2-5 18; Ben Rudin 7-19 0-0 16; Mike Walsh 3-5 0-0 6; Evan Thompson 2-10 2-2 6; Chris Dowd 2-6 0-0 4; Aaron Smith 2-6 0-0 4; Wil Hyatt 1-4 0-0 2; Kyle Dudley 1-2 0-0 2; Bobby Marcoux 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 33-88 4-7 79.
Colby......................... 34 38 19 - 91
Middlebury.................... 37 35 7 - 79
3-point goals-Colby 7-19 (Nick Farrell 4-9; Mac Simpson 2-6; Artie Cutrone 1-1; Michael Westbrooks 0-1; Adam Choice 0-2), Middlebury 9-31 (Andrew Harris 5-8; Ben Rudin 2-6; Tim Edwards 2-7; Chris Dowd 0-3; Wil Hyatt 0-2; Evan Thompson 0-5). Fouled out--Colby-None, Middlebury-None. Rebounds-Colby 45 (Drew Cohen 11), Middlebury 48 (Andrew Harris 9). Assists-Colby 10 (Michael Westbrooks 3), Middlebury 14 (Ben Rudin 4; Evan Thompson 4). Total fouls-Colby 12, Middlebury 21. A-845
2007 Men’s Basketball Championship Seeding
Quarterfinals Saturday, February 17
Amherst 72, Bates 68
Trinity 77, Bowdoin 67
Williams 84, Tufts 72
Colby 91, Middlebury 79
Semifinals Saturday, February 24 at Amherst College
No. 5 Colby at No. 1 Amherst, 2 p.m.
No. 2 Trinity vs. No. 3 Williams, 4 p.m.
Championship Sunday, February 25 at Amherst
Colby/Amherst winner vs. Trinity/Williams winner, 12 p.m.