BOSTON, Mass. – The Emmanuel College men's basketball team heads to New Haven, Conn. to take on Albertus Magnus College in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Semifinals on Thursday, February 21 at 7:00 PM at the Cosgrove Athletic Center. The Saints bring an 18-7 overall record to the contest after posting an 8-3 mark in the GNAC to earn the No. 4 seed in the GNAC. The Falcons also stand at 18-7 overall and posted a 9-2 mark in the GNAC to secure the No. 1 seed.
SEASON AT A GLANCE:
- The Saints entered the GNAC Tournament ranked second in the GNAC defensively, allowing opponents to an average of just 75.6 points per game this season
- Emmanuel has taken advantage of opportunities from the charity stripe this season, leading the GNAC while ranking 14th in the country shooting at a combined 77.4% from the line
- EC finished the regular season ranked second among GNAC schools in rebounding, averaging 43.3 boards per contest while leading the conference in rebounding margin at +11.5 which currently ranks fifth in the nation among D-III Men's Basketball programs.
- The Saints posted an 11-2 record over the months of December and January to secure the program's first winning record for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.
- The Falcons head into the GNAC Semifinal averaging just under 90 points a game (89.6 ppg) to rank second in the GNAC and 14th in the nation.
- Despite the high-powered offense, Albertus ranks 11th in the GNAC in assists per game at 12.3 helpers a night.
- A very aggressive team defensively, the Falcons led the GNAC and the nation (among D-III men's programs) in fouls per game at 23.6 whistles a night.
- Albertus shot a league-low 32.4 percent from behind the arc this season but has made a conference-high 499 free throws, making nearly 21% of their offensive production come from the charity stripe.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Junior guard Emmett Riddick (Middletown, Conn.) leads EC in scoring this season with 17.4 points per game and scored in double-figures in every game (19 games) that he played 20+ minutes in.
- Senior guard Joe Tamburro (South Windsor, Conn.) averaged 18.1 points per game against GNAC opponents this season, connecting on 69 threes to rank sixth in conference. The senior had a pair of 37-point game this year including one against Colby-Sawyer in their first meeting and netted double-figures in 11 out of the last 13 games.
- Senior forward Isaiah Ruffen (Haverhill, Mass.) was one of only four players to average a double-double in GNAC play with 10.8 ppg and 11.4 rpg over 11 conference games. He ranked third overall in the GNAC in rebounding per game and had 18 games with 10+ rebounds including 12 of the last 14 games.
- Sophomore guard Tyreek Perkins (New Haven, Conn.) led the Falcons in scoring with 13.4 points per game this season and has poured in 15+ points in 11 games.
- Senior point guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn.) led Albertus in assists this year, dishing out 3.8 helpers per game and will provide some playoff leadership to a young squad as the captain has appeared in three consecutive GNAC Championship games.
- Junior swingman Jahmerikah Green-Younger (Norwalk, Conn.) will be one of the most athletic players on the court, averaging 12.7 points and has posted double-figure point totals in 18 games this year.
Danny Lawson - Emmanuel
In his first season as a collegiate Head Coach, Lawson has coached the Saints to 18 victories marking the second-highest single-season total in program history and the most since the 2005-06 campaign when Emmanuel also finished with a program-record 20 wins. His leadership helped the Saints clinch a first-round GNAC home playoff game for the first time in 10 seasons.
Mitch Oliver – Albertus Magnus
In his 12th season as the Falcons Head Coach, Oliver helped build a regional powerhouse as Albertus Magnus has captured six GNAC Championships over the past nine seasons. He's been tabbed the GNAC Coach of the Year three times, last earning the honor in 2018. During his tenure at Albertus Magnus, Oliver has compiled an overall record of 249-88 (.739) and he entered this season with seven consecutive seasons with 20+ wins.
THE LAST TIME WE MET:
On January 26th, the Saints picked up an impressive 92-84 home victory over the Falcons to, at the time, stay unbeaten in GNAC play at 5-0. Five players scored in double-figures for Emmanuel including 20 points from Tamburro and an 18 points/12 rebound afternoon for Ruffen. The Saints made 49 free throws in the win as the Falcons committed a season-high 37 personal fouls.
The Falcons have controlled the all-time series lead with a 24-11 record and came into this season with 19 straight wins over Emmanuel before the Saints snapped that streak in January.
After missing out on the GNAC tourney last season, the Saints return for the program's 14th trip to the GNAC postseason. Emmanuel owns a 10-13 overall record in GNAC tournament play and has never won the GNAC title. The Saints appeared in the GNAC Championship in 2007 and 2009 but fell to Rivier in '07 (59-57) and to Saint Joseph's (ME) in '09 (74-72, OT). Albertus has captured a total of seven GNAC Championships ('99, '10, '12, '13, '14, '15, '17) and advanced to the GNAC title game each of the last seven seasons, falling to JWU in both 2011 and 2018.
GNAC TOURNEY SCHEDULE
Tuesday, February 19 - Quarterfinals
Game 1: #8 Lasell at #1 Albertus Magnus, 99-79, ALB
Game 2: #5 Colby-Sawyer at #4 Emmanuel, 90-83, EMM
Game 3: #6 Saint Joseph's (ME) at #3 Johnson & Wales, 83-80, SJM
Game 4: #7 Saint Joseph (CT) at #2 Suffolk, 95-84, USJ
Thursday, February 21 - Semifinals
Game 5: #4 Emmanuel vs #1 Albertus Magnus – 7:00 PM
Game 6: #7 Saint Joseph (CT) vs #6 Saint Joseph's (ME) – 7:00 PM
Saturday, February 23 - Final
Game 7: Highest remaining seed