Guards Kyle Wise (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) and Nick LaGuerre (Baltimore, Md./Lansdowne) tag-teamed in leading the No. 11 St. Mary’s College of Maryland men’s basketball team to a 72-66 victory over the host Alvernia University Crusaders Saturday night in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament.
The win propels the Seahawks (26-3) to their fourth Sweet 16 appearance as well as ties the school record for wins in a season with 26. St. Mary’s will now host one of the eight sectional games next Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 pm. The Seahawks will face Morrisville State College (23-5), a 66-61 overtime winner over No. 13 Rhode Island College.
Wise tallied a first-half best of 13 points en route to a career-high 18 points off the bench on 7-of-11 shooting while LaGuerre picked up 14 of his 16 points in the second half as the Seahawks outscored Alvernia, 41-35, in the final 20 minutes.
Guards James Davenport (Baltimore, Md./Loyola Blakefield) and Brendan McFall (Poolesville, Md./Poolesville) as well as first-year forward Troy Spurrier (Mt. Airy, Md./Glenelg) all contributed 11 points each in the St. Mary’s win while McFall led the Seahawks’ 36-33 rebounding margin with a game- and season-high nine boards.
Alvernia (24-5) opened up the game with a 17-6 run and the Seahawks found themselves down 11 points at 13:04. St. Mary’s responded with an 18-6 run of its own for its first lead of the game at 4:48 as Wise capped the run with one of his career-best three long-range shots. Back-to-back three pointers by the Crusaders returned the lead to the home team before five straight points by Wise plus a layup by Spurrier put the Seahawks up by one with 46 seconds left in the half. Junior forward Kahlil Bennett (Old Bridge, N.J.) made the back end of two free throws to knot the game at 31-31 just 14 seconds later.
Both sides missed three-point attempts in the final six seconds to head into the locker rooms in a 31-31 draw. Wise paced all players with 13 points while junior forward Brian Parker (Chichester, Pa.) led Alvernia with a dozen.
St. Mary’s built a four-point lead at 16:12 before the game saw five tied scores and four lead changes in an eight-minute span. The Crusaders claimed a four-point lead of their own at 8:11 with a 14-6 run behind six points from Parker. The Seahawks then used a 17-5 run to establish their biggest lead of the game, 62-54 on a Davenport layup at 3:02. Bennett’s three-pointer with 10 ticks on the clock closed the gap to four but LaGuerre sealed the win with a dunk four seconds later off an assist by McFall.
St. Mary’s outshot the Crusaders 50.0-percent to 39.3-percent for the game as the Seahawks connected on 59.3% of their shots in the second half.
Parker finished with a game-high 28 points and team-best seven caroms while Bennett contributed 15 points and six rebounds. Sophomore forward Terrance Bridgers (Drexel Hill, Pa.) chipped in 14 points, six steals, five assists and four boards in the loss for Alvernia.