Assistant Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team wrapped up the 2012-13 regular season with a 75-67 win over the Molloy Lions on Saturday, March 2. LIU Post ends the year with an 18-8 overall record and a 13-5 record in the East Coast Conference. The Pioneers’ record was good enough for them to secure the third seed in the upcoming ECC Tournament.
In the win on Saturday, the Pioneers shot 50 percent (25-50) from the field and 52 percent (9-17) from three-point range. Senior guard Tobin Carberry had another solid performance putting up 21 points and contributing three assists. Freshman guard Dillon Burns added 16 points of his own and six assists and junior forward Vaughn Allen contributed 11 points in the victory. Freshman Guard Emile Blackman scored 19 points off the bench.
Like LIU Post’s previous two games, the first half was a back and forth battle. Senior forward Vukasin Vlajic put the first points on the board for Molloy 1:20 into the game. Blackman quickly tied the game back up after two-made free throws. The two ball clubs traded the lead five different times and the game was tied three different times.
At the 10:33 mark, LIU Post went on an 8-0 run ignited by a three-pointer by Blackman. The Pioneers reached their largest lead of the half with 4:26 left in the first half after Allen gave them a 36-26 advantage. But the Lions immediately responded and cut LIU Post’s lead to 39-37 by the end of the half.
Molloy junior forward John Petrucelli opened the second half by tying the game at 39 with a layup. Pioneers’ sophomore forward Tyuan Williams and Carberry hit back-to-back shots to give the Pioneers the lead 45-41. But by the 14:26 mark the Lions had roared back to tie the game at 47.
Blackman put them back ahead by two, but the Lions quickly gained control and eventually took a 56-49 lead. However, no lead is ever safe and the Pioneers battled back as the game wound down. Pioneers’ senior guard Billy Butler’s layup tied the game for the third time in the second half. The Pioneers would again take the lead, and again, the Lions found a way to tie the game up.
But, the Pioneers pulled ahead for good off a jumper by Burns, and LIU Post held onto the lead for the final 2:49 of the game to capture the 75-67 win. Now that the season has come to a close, the Pioneers turn their focus to protect their title as reigning ECC champions. Last year, they entered the tournament as the number one seed and defeated both Dowling College and Bridgeport.
Ironically, the Pioneers will again open the tournament against Dowling, although this year LIU Post enters as the three seed. Dowling and the Pioneers play on Tuesday, March 5, with the winner will move on to play second-ranked NYIT on Thursday.