Daemen headed to ECC tourney after win

Courtesy of Daemenwildcats.com

FLUSHING, N.Y. – Seven players scored at least seven points, including four in double figures, as the Daemen College men’s basketball team cruised to an 89-63 win over Queens College in East Coast Conference action here today. Daemen has won eight straight games overall and 14 consecutive ECC road games, improving to 19-3 overall and 11-1 in league play this season. Queens dropped to 6-17 overall and 6-7 in ECC play.

With today’s win, Daemen has clinched a berth in the upcoming ECC Championship tournament. The Wildcats will be making their fourth straight conference tournament appearance. The ECC Championship features the top six teams in the final league standings with first round games slated for for campus sites on Wednesday, March 6, and the semifinals (Saturday, March 9) and finals (Sunday, March 10) being played at Hubbell Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Bridgeport.

Today’s win also marked the 100th for head coach Mike MacDonald in his Daemen tenure. Since taking the reins of the program in 2014, MacDonald has guided the Wildcats to a 100-40 overall record, and he joins an elite fraternity of coaches who have recorded 100 victories across all three NCAA divisions. Before coming to Daemen, MacDonald registered 108 wins over nine seasons at Division I Canisius College, and 148 wins over eight seasons at Division III Medaille College. He ranks second all-time at Daemen in wins, and holds a career record of 356-266. 

Andrew Sischo (Guilderland, N.Y.) shot 7-of-12 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe as he totaled 20 points and 13 rebounds. It marked the 13th double-double of the season for Sischo who also surpassed 900 career points in the win. He’s now scored at least 20 points in three straight and four of the last five games. For the season, Sischo is averaging 22.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, ranking second among the ECC leaders in both categories.

Breon Harris (Niagara Falls, N.Y.), Deion Hamilton (Rochester, N.Y.) and Quinn Lee Yaw (Jamestown, N.Y.) also reached double figures for Daemen. Harris, who finished with 15 points, did the majority of his work at the charity stripe where he shot a perfect 9-for-9. Hamilton shot 7-for-10 from the field and also totaled 15 points. Lee Yaw’s 13 points came in 21 minutes of work off the bench. 

The Wildcats also got solid outings from Jeff Redband (Batavia, N.Y.), Jay Sarkis (Rochester, N.Y.) and Nick Petrucelli (Hicksville, N.Y.). Redband made a pair of three-pointers and finished with nine points and six rebounds. Sarkis also canned a pair from downtown as part of an eight-point, three-assist effort. Petrucelli came off the bench to score seven points and grab four boards.

Keenan Gorski paced the Knights with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point land. Wayne Li (11 points) and Tyrese Crosdale (11 points) also reached double figures. Elijah Bovell, the Knights’ leading scorer, was held to 0-for-9 shooting and finished with just two points. 

Daemen shot over 60 percent from the field (18-for-29) in the opening half. A 16-3 run midway through the period helped the Wildcats seize control, turning their 14-11 lead into a 30-14 advantage. The spurt was sparked by the Wildcat reserves as Lee Yaw hammered down a dunk and Petrucelli totaled five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play. The Daemen lead grew to as many as 17 points (41-24) before they took a 46-30 lead into halftime.

The Wildcats quickly extended their lead past 20 points early in the second half, and Queens never threatened to get much closer. The Daemen lead grew to 24 points on Sischo’s fastbreak layup with just under six minutes to play, and then maxed out at the final margin following two free throws by freshman guard Trevor Book (North Tonawanda, N.Y.).

Daemen shot 52.6 percent from the field (30-for-57), 50 percent from three-point range (6-for-12) and 92 percent from the free throw line (23-for-25). It marked the ninth time this season that Daemen has made at least half of their field goal attempts, and they’re a perfect 9-0 in those contests. Daemen leads the ECC by shooting 47.9 percent as a team this season.

Queens managed just 32.8 percent shooting, including a chilly 9-for-31 from long distance (29%). The Wildcats also held big advantages in paint scoring (42-18) and rebounding (45-28).  

Daemen, which is ranked in both Division II national polls (#13 in D2SIDA poll, #20 in NABC poll), maintains its grip on first place in the ECC standings, and they not sit two games clear of Molloy College (14-8, 10-3 ECC) and Saint Thomas Aquinas College (18-5, 10-3 ECC). After falling 89-75 to Daemen on Friday evening, Molloy dropped its second straight with an 87-83 loss to Roberts Wesleyan College today. 

Daemen’s eight-game winning streak ranks as the second-longest active streak among all East Region teams, behind only Jefferson University which has won 11 straight games. The Wildcats have won the last four games by double figures, and they’re averaging 85.0 points per game during the winning streak. 

Daemen will return to action next Friday, Feb. 15 when they host Long Island University Post (0-20, 0-13 ECC) at Lumsden Gymnasium.

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