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MUSTANGS MEN’S HOOPS RANKED IN D3 HOOPS.COM TOP 20

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MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College men’s basketball team wrapped up yet another exciting and historical season, and for the second consecutive year, have earned a spot in the D3hoops.com men’s Top 25 final national poll, as released yesterday.

netMorrisville State who finished the season 22-9 overall and earned the #16 spot in the final poll, the highest ranking received to date in the history of the program.

The Mustangs claimed their third straight North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship Tournament title to earn a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament, where they posted huge upset wins over #11 nationally ranked Brockport and #22 Richard Stockton en route to the program’s and conference’s first ever Elite Eight appearance.

Head coach Joseph Smith was named the D3hoops.com East Region Coach of the Year for a second straight year, with senior guard Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) received first team All-Region and NABC accolades.

Morrisville State earned its first national ranking just a year ago, wrapping up the 2012-13 season with a #20 spot in the final poll. The entire Top 25 can be found here.

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SMITH NAMED D 3 COACH OF THE YEAR-PRIOR NAMED TO D3 ALL DISTRICT FIRST TEAM

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – D3hoops.com announced its Men’s Basketball All-East Region Teams Monday, and has named Morrisville State College men’s basketball coach Joseph Smith, the 2014 Coach of the Year.

netSmith guided the Mustangs to its third straight North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship Tournament title, and a third straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.

Following a historical season for the Mustangs just a year ago with an appearance in the Sweet 16, Smith guided Morrisville State back to the tournament where they again made college and conference history.

The Mustangs went 22-9 overall on the season, and upset two nationally ranked programs (#11 Brockport, #22 Richard Stockton) in its NCAA post-season run, advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time in college and conference history.

“I’m honored to have earned this recognition,” Smith said and continued, “but this is really a program accomplishment. The team wouldn’t have had as much success without the hard work and dedication of my assistant coaches Kyle Martin and Joseph W. Smith, who both put in a lot of effort and hard work to make our season even possible.”

“We were really successful as a team and being the only East Region team to make an appearance in the Elite Eight was huge for our program and institution. The players deserve this award as much as the staff.”

netSmith also had a player earn D3hoops.com recognition, senior guard Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) earned first team accolades for the first time in program history.

“Coach Smith is an amazing coach, and I’m grateful he gave me the opportunity to play for the program for the past two seasons,” said Prior. “His knowledge of the game and ability to instill confidence as individual players guided us as a team to be one of the best in the nation. It’s an honor well deserved.”

In five seasons at the helm of the program, Smith has posted an 83-53 overall record, including a 64-22 record the past two seasons, along with a 5-3 NCAA tournament record. The Sherrill, N.Y. native was the 2011-12 NEAC Coach of the Year and 2012-13 D3hoops.com East Region Coach of the Year.

“Coach Smith has done a great job not just coaching our team but building a program that reflects the  kind of core values that make him an outstanding person,” Athletic Director Greg Carroll said. “The work he has done with our program makes him a terrific role model for our players as well as other members of our staff and department. His success has been the byproduct of extremely hard work, good judgment, a vision for the type of program he seeks to build, and a commitment to not compromising his values to achieve his competitive goals.” 

“As an athletic director I could not possibly ask for anything more from a head coach, and we are really fortunate to have him as a member of our staff and representative of Morrisville State College.”

Prior named NABC Division III All-District First Team

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced today the 2014 Coaches’ Division III All-District teams and coaches, naming Morrisville State College senior guard, Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y. / Cortland) to its East All-District First Team.

The NABC recognizes the best men’s collegiate basketball student-athletes and coaches in the division, as selected by member coaches of the association.

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Prior wrapped up a stellar final season for the Mustangs by leading Morrisville State to its third straight North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship Tournament title and appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament, including back-to-back appearances in the Sweet 16, and a first ever appearance in the Elite Eight this season.

On Monday, Prior became the first Mustang to earn D3hoops.com All-Region honors, being named to the East Region first team.

In 31 games with the Mustangs he recorded 520 points, an average of 16.8 points per game, hitting 152-of-335 shots (45.4%) from the floor, including 81-of-182 attempts from beyond the arc (44.5%), while converting 135-of-169 attempts from the free throw line (79.9%).

Prior added 123 total rebounds to his tallies, dished out 86 assists and collected 28 steals.

netA first team All-Conference selection at guard, Prior guided the Mustangs back to the NEAC title game for a third time, tying a collegiate high 26 points in the semi-final round against Abington. His effort throughout the conference tournament garnered him Most Valuable Tournament Player honors as selected by tournament officials.

Known for his ability from long range and collectiveness on the free throw line, Prior wrapped up his collegiate career moving through the ranks of the Mustang record books. His 81 3-pointers on the season ranks second, along with his 135 free throws.

He also became the seventh Mustang in history to register more than 500 points in a single season (520).

Prior joined the Morrisville State program after a two-year stint with Onondaga Community College, and in the two seasons with the Mustangs, recorded 779 points to rank fifth all-time in scoring leaders, and second all-time in 3-point field goals (127).

Monday’s national rankings had Prior sitting at 16th overall in field goal percentage from beyond the arc (44.5%), and 21st among all of Division III in 3-point field goals made (81).

He finished the season ranked in the top 10 in seven NEAC statistical categories, including first in 3-pointers made (81) and free throws made (135). He ranked second in points scored (52) and total minutes played (1014), while finishing fourth in free throw percentage (79.9), fifth in scoring (16.8 points per game) and eighth in assists (86).

The senior joins an elite list of Mustangs to earn recognition through the NABC, with Prior being the lone Morrisville State student-athlete to be recognized with first team accolades.

Prior is a graduate of Cortland High and is majoring in resort and recreation management at Morrisville State. He is the son of Prudy and Eric Prior of Cortland.

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MUSTANGS BOW OUT OF BIG DANCE WITH HEADS HELD HIGH LOSE TO AMHERST

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AMHERST, MASS. – The Morrisville State College men’s basketball team saw its season come to an end Saturday night, as they were downed by reigning national champion Amherst College 84-74 in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament Quarterfinals.

netThe Mustangs, who had a historical season just a year ago, again left their mark on Morrisville State and North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) history, becoming the first team to ever appear in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tourney both for the institution and conference. They wrap up the season with a 22-9 overall record and a third straight appearance in the championship tournament.

Morrisville State had four seniors notch double figures on the night, including Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) who led the Mustangs with 20, hitting 5-of-8 from long range. Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 18 points and three steals to the efforts, while teammate Tom Wilk (Cortland, N.Y.) had 15 points to go along with his seven rebounds.

Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) tallied 12 points and pulled down a team high seven rebounds, while teammate and fellow senior Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) had a best four assists and five rebounds, adding seven points.

Senior forward Sherard King (Bronx, N.Y.) rounded out scoring for Morrisville State with two points, collecting four rebounds.

netAmherst had an outstanding performance from Aaron Toomey, last year’s national player of the year, who posted 31 points in the win for the Lord Jeffs, hitting 6-of-9 from beyond the arc and 11-of-11 from the free throw line. Toomey also snared a team high eight rebounds and dished out four assists.

David Kalema added 20 points and four assists, while teammates Tom Killan and David George each registered 13 on the night.

Both teams shot well from the floor, Morrisville State hitting 48.2% on 27-of-56 chances, including 7-of-13 from long range (53.8%); and Amherst 50% on 28-of-56 opportunities, 45.5% from beyond the arc (10-of-22).

The big difference in the game came over the final four minutes of the opening half. With 4:12 to go, Prior nailed a three from the top of the key to even the contest at 28, but Toomey took control and posted 11 of the team’s next 14 points as Amherst went on a 14-4 run for the remainder of the half to take the 42-32 lead into the break.

Amherst opened the second half with an 18-8 run to increase their lead to as many as 20 with 12:05 remaining on the clock.

netHitting the inside game with Wilk and Ater, Morrisville State put together a 7-0 spurt to make it a 13 point game with 9:35 to go, and climbed within eight at the five minute mark on a three by Prior.

Toomey responded with another tre to regain the 11 point lead for the hosts, but Kinsey brought it back within single digits with a jumper from just outside the paint.

Morrisville State outscored Amherst 13-8 down the stretch, but the Lord Jeffs secured the win, converting all eight free throws to advance to the Final Four.

The Mustangs outworked Amherst in the second half, hitting 57.7% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc, but struggled from the free throw line, converting just 6-of-10 opportunities as the Lord Jeffs hit all 15 attempts. Amherst hit 44.4% from the floor in the second half, and just 3-of-9 from long range (33.3%).

Morrisville State also held the edge on the glass, 35-26, including 11-5 in offensive rebounds that were converted for 19 second chance points.

Amherst, ranked seventh nationally, advances to face Williams College next Friday in Salem.

Morrisville State closes its season with a great run in the tournament, knocking off two nationally ranked programs in #11 Brockport and #22 Richard Stockton while advancing to the Elite Eight round for the first time in program history.

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3/14 Box score

AMHERST, MASS. – The Morrisville State College men’s basketball team made another move Friday night, bouncing #22 nationally ranked Richard Stockton from the 2013-14 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament to advance to the Elite 8 round for the first time in college history history by an 88-81 final.

netThe Mustangs had four post double figures on the night, including a combined 63 points from its senior guard trio.Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) each tallied 22 points to lead the Morrisville State charge, while fellow guard Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) added 19.

Sherard King (Bronx, N.Y.) came off the bench to add 10, while teammate Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) controlled the glass for the Mustangs with a team high seven rebounds. Ater’s first rebound of the night broke the all-time mark established from 2006-09 by forward Joseph McCants (614).

Morrisville State needed to come out firing on all cylinders as the Osprey’s carried hot shooting from two opening rounds into tonight’s game, and they did just that. The Mustangs hit 31-of-50 from the floor (62.0%), 9-of-16 from beyond the arc (56.3%), and converted 17-of-23 from the free throw line (73.9%).

Richard Stockton got a game high 28 points from John Blamon, who also collected a best nine rebounds, while teammate Rich Suhr added 13 points to round out the leaderboard in the losing effort.

The Osprey’s went 50% from the floor on 32-of-64 attempts, and converted 12-of-15 free throws (80.0%) but struggled from long range as they only hit 5-of-19 attempts (26.3%).

netRichard Stockton opened quick and early as they built up a 11-2 lead over the Mustangs at one point in the opening minutes before Morrisville State found its offensive rhythm and chipped away at the lead.

The Mustangs took their first lead of the contest late in the opening half, and headed in to the locker room with a 40-38 lead.

Morrisville State led by as many as 10 with 8:06 to go, before the Osprey’s put together a 7-0 run over the next minute to make it a three point ball game with just over seven minutes showing on the clock.

Hanging within single digits, Richard Stockton tied the game for the 10th time on the night as James Williams converted two free throws with 1:18 remaining.

Prior regained the lead for the Mustangs with a jumper just inside the top of the key, but it was a block by Tom Wilk (Cortland, N.Y.) that led to a foul on Kinsey that sent him to the line where he hit two that gave Morrisville State the momentum to put the game away down the stretch.

Richard Stockton attempted to make it a two point game with a drive into the paint, but the ball rolled off the rim and into the hands of Ater who dished it to King who was sent to the line for two. King converted both free throws for the 86-80 lead with 21 ticks remaining, before Prior sealed the win with two more eight seconds later to send the Mustangs to the next round.

Morrisville State awaits the winner of Amherst and Plattsburgh St. for tomorrow’s sectional final to be played at 7 p.m. in Amherst. Amherst College is the 2012-13 national champion.

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MORRISVILLE, N.Y. –

Amherst College is playing host to the sectional round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Division III Championship Friday and Saturday, March 14-15, as Plattsburgh St., Richard Stockton and Morrisville State all roll into town for the round better known as the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.

netThe Mustangs tip against Richard Stockton at 5:30 on Friday, followed by host Amherst against Plattsburgh at 7:30 p.m. If the Mustangs advance they will face the winner of Amherst / Plattsburgh at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The Mustangs (21-8) who are three-time North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Champions are making their third straight appearance in the tournament, and return to the sectional round for a second straight season, shocking the nation just a year ago with a run to the Sweet 16 round.

Richard Stockton (25-4) advanced to the tournament after capturing the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title, and defeated Bowdoin and Cabrini in the first two rounds to get to the sectional bracket.

Tickets for the game go on sale Friday and are available beginning at 4 p.m. at an expense of $7 for adults and $4 for senior citizens, students and children.

Live stats and video will be available for the contests on the Morrisville State College athletic web site at www.morrisvillestateathletics.com.

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