Women’s and Men’s Basketball Teams Advance to NCAA Sweet Sixteens

Both Jumbo teams win and head to the next round of the Division III national tournament
A basketball player for Tufts dribbles the basketball in a game. Tufts men’s and women’s basketball teams won their sectionals and head to the Division III national tournament
Emily Briggs brings the ball up the court in the game against SUNY-Cortland. Photo: Rachael Margossian
March 9, 2020

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The women’s basketball team will host an NCAA sectional round at Cousens Gymnasium this weekend, March 13-14, with a berth into the Final Four on the line, while the men’s basketball team will travel to upstate New York for the Sweet Sixteen round at The College at Brockport to face the host Golden Eagles.

Head coach Jill Pace’s Jumbos (28-1) advanced through the NCAA regional at Western New England University on March 6 and 7, defeating SUNY Polytechnic 72-34 in the first round and SUNY Cortland 79-53 in the second round. In the second-round game, the Jumbos were led by Erica DeCandido, who posted a 26-point, eleven-rebound double-double. Emily Briggs came up one rebound short of her own double-double, posting 21 points and nine rebounds.

The team will play New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Williams College for the third time this season on March 13 at Cousens starting at 7 p.m. The Jumbos have won both previous meetings with the Ephs this season, 76-60 on February 15 during the regular-season and 69-63 in the NESCAC semifinals on February 29.

Smith College and Messiah College will meet in the other March 13 third-round game. The winners will play in the Elite Eight on March 14 at 5 p.m. for a berth into the national semifinals.

Tufts, the NESCAC runner-up, is in its twelfth NCAA tournament, after receiving an at-large bid. The Jumbos improved their NCAA record to 35-13 with this weekend’s two victories. The Jumbos have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the ninth straight year and tenth time overall.

Men’s Basketball Takes on The College at Brockport

The Jumbos (23-6) advanced in the NCAA tournament by beating Western Connecticut 74-72 in the first round of the NCAAs on March 6—after trailing 57-38 with 13:24 remaining in regulation before storming back to win.

In the second round the next day, the Jumbos got 19 points from senior Eric Savage, a double-double from junior Luke Rogers and 17 points from freshman Dylan Thoerner and held off a second-half comeback by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pick up a 75-66 win.

Eric Savage weighs his passing options in the game against RPI. The format of the NCAA Division III men’s championship differs from previous years. Only one game will be played at eight sites this coming weekend, with the advancing teams convening in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the national quarterfinals and semifinals March 20-21. Two teams will come out of that weekend to play for the Division III championship on April 5 at the site of the NCAA Division I Final Four in Atlanta.

The Jumbos are in their sixth NCAA tournament overall after receiving the NESCAC winner’s automatic berth. With their two wins this weekend, they improved their NCAA record to 10-5. Tufts is in the tournament for the first time since 2017, when they also reached the Sweet Sixteen. Their best run was into the Elite Eight in 2016.

In the most recent D3hoops.com national poll, Brockport is eighteenth and Tufts is twentieth. The winner of the March 14 game will play either number one Swarthmore or Whitworth in the Elite Eight.

Webcasts of all three women’s games this coming weekend will be available at http://tuftsjumbocast.com/.

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