WAYNE, N.J. - Sophomore Byron Reaves (Hamden, CT) sank a shot from half-court as time expired to lift Albertus Magnus (23-6) to a stunning 57-55 upset of No. 7 William Paterson (25-3) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament March 5 at the Pioneers' Rec Center. See the game winning half-court shot here.
The Falcons advance to the second round Saturday, March 6, at 7:00 p.m. at WPU and will face DeSales, a 72-64 overtime winner against MIT in the night's other first-round game.
Trailing by one at 54-53 with 17.3 seconds left after AMC's Ray Askew (New Haven, CT) knocked in a jumper in the paint, William Paterson's Gabriel Paul (Hillside, NJ) drained a jump shot from the right short-corner, a bucket that handed the host Pioneers a 55-54 edge with 1.6 seconds remaining. However, the Falcons were able to get the ball inbounded and into the hands of Reaves, who took one dribble and elevated to get the shot off between two defenders from just inside the mid-court line. His shot fell through the net as time expired, lifting the Falcons to the upset victory in their first-ever NCAA Tournament game.
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Player of the Year, Askew led Albertus Magnus with 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Reaves finished with 14 tallies, making all four of his three-point attempts.
After playing a lackluster first half and entering the locker room with a 24-17 deficit, William Paterson came out in the second half and promptly scored eight unanswered points thanks to back-to-back three-pointers by seniors Joseph Ellis (Newark, NJ) and Tim Lucas (Old Bridge, NJ), and a steal and fast-break bucket by Lucas, surging ahead 25-24 less than two minutes into the period. However, Reaves answered with a three (27-25, 17:57), and the two teams traded baskets for the next three minutes until Albertus Magnus put together a 5-0 run to create a 37-32 edge with 13:43 on the clock.
Senior Eric Moore (Dover, NJ) converted a pair of free throws, classmate Manny Perrotte (Piscataway, NJ) scored in transition and Paul added a layup, making it a 38-37 Pioneer advantage (10:58). Five lead changes and five ties eventually led to a Moore fast-break layup for a 49-49 score with 3:16 left.
After the Falcons failed to make a jumper, Lucas was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving AMC the ball with 2:38 to play. A foul put Askew at the line and he made one of two (50-49, 2:19), but Moore snatched back the lead for William Paterson with an 18-footer on the right wing (51-50, 1:58). After an Albertus Magnus timeout, Reaves found Walden St. Juste (Hartford, CT) on an inbounds play for an easy basket, again giving the visitors a one-point advantage (52-51, 1:44). Moore once again countered for William Paterson, this one a two-pointer with his foot on the line, for a 53-52 score at the 1:16 mark. An Askew turnover gave Patterson a chance to pad its lead, but the Pioneers could not track down the rebound of Bobby Dunn's (Garwood, NJ) miss with 31 seconds left.
Moore was 7-for-11 (.636) for a game-high 20 points. Lucas had 14 tallies, nine rebounds and four assists for the Pioneers, Paul added 13 points, and senior Abdoulaye Ouedraogo (Newark, NJ) collected 11 rebounds.