#1 Farmingdale State - 77, #2 Sage - 75
Farmingdale, N.Y. - After Sage's Jordan Devaughn (Jacksonville, Fla.) converted a four-point play to tie the game at 75-75 after being fouled on a 3, FSC sophomore forward George Riefenstahl (Bayport, N.Y.) was set up underneath the basket by Ali Mableton (Brentwood, N.Y.) for the game-winning layup with one second remaining. The top-seeded Rams overcame a 14-point halftime deficit for the 77-75 Skyline Conference Championship victory over #2 Sage this evening.
Farmingdale State has earned the conference's automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.
The Rams (20-7) held an early 6-5 lead but the Gators (17-10) used a 13-0 run to go ahead, 18-6, with 13:13 remaining in the first half. After each team hit a jumper on their next possession, Sage's Rob Mills (Newburgh, N.Y.) connected on a 3-pointer to give the Gators a 15-point edge.
Sage extended the advantage to 35-14 with 5:08 left to play but FSC responded with a 12-2 run over the next 2:40 to cut the deficit to 37-26.
With 1:23 remaining in the half, freshman guard Chaz Platt (Jamaica, N.Y.) hit a 3 for the Rams which brought FSC within 10 and Sage closed with a pair of layups to go into the break leading 43-29.
Trailing 49-34 with 18:10 remaining, Riefenstahl scored the next three Farmingdale State baskets to cut the Sage lead to 49-40.
After a Mills 3-pointer put Sage up by nine, Farmingdale State answered with an 8-0 run which saw 3's from Chaz Platt (Jamaica, N.Y.) and Matthew Graham (Valley Stream, N.Y.) to close within one, 57-56, with 10:32 left on the clock.
The Gators extended the advantage to 60-56 until a 12-0 FSC run gave the Rams the largest lead of the game, 68-60, with 3:15 remaining. Sage quickly answered with a pair of free-throws by Marcus Patterson (Bronx, N.Y.) and a Devaughn 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three.
The Rams held a 75-68 lead with 18 seconds on the clock until Patterson connected on a 3. After an FSC turnover, Devaughn followed with a 3-pointer and free-throw after being fouled to tie the game at 75-75. With one second remaining, Riefenstahl put in the game-winning layup for Farmingdale State to cap off the 77-75 Skyline Championship victory.
Graham, who was named the Skyline Tournament's Most Valuable Player, scored a team-high 18 points and was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. Riefenstahl finished the night with 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, while junior guard Liam Monaghan (Rockaway Beach, N.Y.) scored 14 points and had a team-high five assists.
For Sage, Patterson tallied a game-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while junior center Thiago Conceicao (El Portal, Fla.) scored eight points, had eight blocks and 10 rebounds.
Farmingdale State last clinched a berth into the NCAA's in the 2011-12 season after defeating Purchase in the Skyline Championship game. That year, the Rams defeated Hartwick in the First Round before falling to MIT in the Second Round.
The Rams now await word of their opponent for the First Round of the NCAA Tournament which will be announced on Monday, February 27th at 12:30 p.m. Follow the release of the entire bracket at NCAA.com.