Senior Victor Ljuljdjuraj (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament Most Valuable Player as he tallied 24 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocks as the Albertus Magnus men's basketball team defeated Johnson & Wales (R.I.) 98-85 in the GNAC Championship on Saturday.
With the win, the top-seeded Falcons improved to 27-1 on the year and earn their fourth-straight GNAC Tournament title. Today also marked the Falcons' fifth championship in the last six seasons.
The Falcons' win also extends their impressive home court winning streak to 57 games as it is the longest active home court winning streak in NCAA men's basketball (all levels).
In the Falcons' 15th all-time GNAC Tournament appearance, they have now won six championship titles.
The Falcons shot 60% in the first half on 18-of-30 shooting from the floor. Tavon Sledge (Spring Valley, N.Y.) led all scorers at the break with 16 points. After a close opening eight minutes, the Falcons used an 11-0 run to jump out to their largest lead of the first half.
JWU battled back to cut the Albertus lead to two with 6:04 on the clock. Play remained close until the Falcons extended their lead back to 10 on a Sledge layup with 54 seconds on the clock.
At the break, Albertus held a 46-38 advantage.
Albertus continued its stellar shooting in the second half as the Falcons' shot 58.6% from the floor. JWU tallied a 40.5% showing in the half to finish the game 37.3% from the floor.
The Wildcats were able to cut the Albertus lead to six points at 58-52 with 16:39 on the clock but the Falcons were able to take control of the contest and push their lead back up to 16 with nine minutes left. The 16-point lead proved to be the Falcons' largest of the contest.
Sledge finished the contest with a game-high 35 points as he added five assists and seven rebounds. Eian Davis (Brooklyn, Conn.) finished with 13 points and seven assists, while Lemar Larsen (Waterbury, Conn.) added 13 points and eight rebounds.
JWU was led by Tom Garrick with 23 points, while Greenaway added 19 points and finished 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. Robert Lewis added 15 points and Jarell Lawson had 12 for the Wildcats.
Davis and Sledge joined Ljuljdjuraj on the All-Tournament Team. JWU's Quarry Greenaway and Tom Garrick also earned All-Tournament Team honors as Emmanuel's John Clay and Saint Joseph's Steve Simmonds also made the team.
With the win, Albertus earns a spot in the coveted Division III NCAA Tournament, which is set to begin March 6. The Falcons will find out who they will face in the first-round during the Division III Selection Show on Monday, March 2 at 12:30 p.m.