Rams Claim Skyline Championship; Advance to NCAA Tourney
Farmingdale, N.Y. - The Farmingdale State men's basketball team claimed their first Skyline Title since 2009 tonight, with an 83-64 victory over #4 seed Purchase College (14-14). With the win, the Rams received the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Their opponent will be announced on Monday, February 27 during the live selection show on ncaasports.com.
After a tight first half, the Rams led 32-31 to start the second. Purchase scored on their first possession in the second, to take the 33-32 lead, their first lead since the 9-minute mark of the first. But Farmingdale State used a 22-4 run and led by 19 points with 10 minutes to play and would hold on for the win.
With under two minutes to play, the Rams posted three straight dunks, started by freshman forward Ibrahim Johnson (New York, N.Y.) and followed by two from junior forward AJ Matthews (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Matthews was named the Tournament MVP after posting his 25th consecutive double-double with 17 points, 17 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Matthews said of the win, "We worked hard all year at practice and went thru a lot as a team. But when it came time to play in the second half, we turned it up and got it done."
After winning his 160th career game (160-63 career coaching record) and his 4th Skyline Championship, an enthusiastic Coach Smiles stated "my point guard Ryan Davis came up big with two huge 3-point shots. And AJ played outstanding down low. I'm very proud of all of my seniors. We have a lot of goals left to reach in the NCAA Tournament and hopefully many games to come."
Rams senior guard Joshua Smith (Deer Park, N.Y.) and Matthews led the team with 17 points each, while senior guard Dyshaun Flournoy (Brentwood, N.Y.) followed up with 13 of his own. Junior guard Ryan Davis finished with 10 points and a game-high four assists. Farmingdale State made a season-high 10 3-pointers tonight.
For Purchase, junior center Craig Davis (Queens, N.Y.) and junior guard John Pressley (New York, N.Y.) each scored 15 points. The Panthers struggled from 3-point territory at 27-percent (3-for-11).
Farmingdale State now awaits word of their next opponent.