Tourney Loss Ends Pioneers Season

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David Otero

The C.W. Post Pioneers men’s basketball team made a nice run for the season, but it has come to an end. On Saturday March 12th, the eighth seeded C.W. Post Pioneers squared off against the top seed in the East Region of the NCAA Division II Basketball Tournament, the Bentley Falcons. Despite their playing a great game, ultimately the Pioneers fell short by a final of 74-60. This was a back-and-forth game for the first half. However, in the second half the Falcons pulled away by outscoring the Pioneers 36-27.

These teams were evenly matched the entire night as both squads grabbed the same number of rebounds and shot the exact same percentage from the field, 43 percent, while having the same number of shot opportunities (26-61). In the end, however, the Falcons made their shots count more than the Pioneers did. The Falcons made nearly half of their twenty attempted three-pointers. Looking at the Pioneers, they shot a dismal 3-17 shooting from beyond the arc. In addition, the Pioneers did not get to the free-throw line nearly enough as they were 5-8 from the charity stripe. The Pioneers relied on the perimeter shooting, but it was to no avail. However at halftime, the Falcons were only leading by five points with the score 38-33.

During the second half, the Falcons showed why they were the number one seed in the East Region. They pulled away and led by as much as 15 points behind timely shooting and solid defense. The Pioneers did not go down without a fight, though. They hung around during the final minutes of play, as the Falcons had a tough time finishing off the Pioneers. The Falcons would go up by double digits, but the Pioneers would respond on the other end by cutting the deficit to within reach.  With just over four minutes left to play, the Falcons were leading 65-54, but the Pioneers nailed back-to-back shots to cut the lead down to only seven with over three minutes left to play. However, the Falcons put the game out of reach by their soft touch from the perimeter, and the Pioneers ran out of time to make a comeback.

Junior guard Sam Leclerc led the way for the Falcons, putting up the game-high in points with 20 on 6-10 shooting from the field, 3-4 from three-point range. Senior forward Brian Tracey gave the Falcons toughness inside by scoring 17 points and grabbing a game-high 9 rebounds.

For the Pioneers, junior guard Stefan Bonneau, who earned the honor of East Coast Conference Player of the Year, finished with 16 points while shooting 7-16 from the floor. The only other player in double figures for the Pioneers was freshman Vaughn Allen, who concluded the game with 12 points while managing to secure seven rebounds in his 23 minutes of action.

Although the Pioneers came up short, they can’t be disappointed with how their season ended up. This loss ends the Pioneers fantastic season as they finished with a 21-10 record, and a 16-5 record within the East Coast Conference. The 2010-2011 season marks the fourth consecutive year the Pioneers have won at least 20 games. The Pioneers advanced into the NCAA Division II Tournament by beating the Bridgeport Purple Knights 68-64 on March 6th in the East Coast Conference Championship.

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