Courtesy of Aurora University
AURORA, Ill. -- Aurora University will represent the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference in the NCAA Division III CHampionship Tourhament after the Spartans claimed the 2018 NACC Men's Basketball Tournament title on Saturday night at Lancaster Court in Thornton Gymnasium. The top-ranked Spartans defeated long-time rival Benedictine University 76-71 in yet another thrilling match-up between the programs.
FINAL SCORE: #1 Aurora University 76; #2 Benedictine University 71
LOCATION: Aurora, Illinois – Lancaster Court in Thornton Gymnasium
RECORDS: Aurora University 19-8; Benedictine University 17-10
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Spartans found themselves trailing 11-7 early in the game as both teams traded baskets and the lead early on.
- A three-ball from freshman Justin Wierzgac and jumper from Marcus Myers gave the Spartans a 12-7 lead just two minutes after the four-point deficit.
- BU grabbed the lead back shortly after and with 5:05 left in the first-half, AU trailed by five, 27-22.
- The Spartans finished the half on a 5-2 run with all five coming from Max Vickers and trailed heading to the half, 33-32.
- The second-half opened with AU coming out cold from the field and BU built their largest lead of the game with 18:25 still to play at 38-32.
- Three balls from Wierzgac and Ty Carlson fueled a 6-0 AU run and the game was quickly back tied at 38 with 16:33 to go.
- Over the next 11 minutes, the teams went at each other like a contest between longtime rivals would be expected to go. And with 6:00 left to play, AU trailed by four at 62-58.
- On the following possession, freshman Garrett Hoffman drained a three and with a pair of Marcus Myers free throws on the next possession, AU led for the first time since 13:46 of the first-half.
- The AU run continued with a Ty Carlson steal and score and a Marcus Myers jumper in the lane.
- The Myers jumper with 4:25 to play pushed him past 1,000 career points in his two seasons as a Spartan. He becomes the 33rd member of the AU men's basketball 1,000 point club.
- The 67-62 lead was the Spartans largest of the game.
- AU maintained the lead down the stretch but the Eagles of Benedictine pulled within one at 72-71 with 1:13 to play.
- A Myers lay-up pushed the lead back to three before the Spartan defense forced three BU missed shots in the final 24 seconds.
- AU would win 76-71 and claim the 2018 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship and will represent the NACC in the NCAA Tournament.
FOR THE SPARTANS
- Marcus Myers became the 33rd member of the AU men's basketball 1,000 point club with his 16 points. He finished the night with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds to go along with seven assists.
- Max Vickers had a game-high 25 points on six-of-eight shooting from three-point range and seven rebounds.
- Ty Carlson had 19 points on four-of-eight shooting from three-point range.
- Justin Wierzgac had 10 points.
- Matt Dunn had eight rebounds, five assists and three points.
SPARTAN STAT LEADERS
POINTS: Max Vickers (25), Ty Carlson (19), Marcus Myers (16) and Justin Wierzgac (10)
REBOUNDS: Marcus Myers (13) and Matt Dunn (8)
ASSISTS: Marcus Myers (7) and Matt Dunn (5)
STEALS: Justin Wierzgac, Pat Kramp and Matt Dunn (1)
Next action for the Spartan men's basketball team comes in the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. AU will find out the opponent and location of the NCAA contest on Monday, February 26 when the NCAA selection committee announces the field of 64 at 11:30 a.m. Check athletics.aurora.edu for further information on the selection announcement.