Black & Memmelaar Lead in NCAA Tourney Win

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Senior guard Dom Black scored 26 points with seven rebounds, classmate Mason Memmelaar had 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists and the top defensive team in Division III held the sixth-ranked offense to 58 points as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s basketball team defeated Nichols College 78-58 in an NCAA Tournament First Round matchup at Silloway High School on the campus of Wesleyan University.

RPI, which is now 22-5, advances to the second round for the second straight season and faces either the host Cardinals or Husson University on Saturday at 7:40pm. The Bison conclude the campaign at 25-4.

The Engineers, who entered the game allowing 57.5 points per contest, outscored Nichols 48-30 in the second half. They held the Bison to 29.7 percent shooting (11 of 37) in the final 20 minutes to keep them 31.2 points below what was their season average leading into the game (89.2). RPI connected on 57.1% of its shots (16 of 28) and went 13 of 14 (92.8%) from the free throw line in the second frame.

The first half was tight throughout with neither team holding a lead larger than six points. The two teams split the first 22 points seven minutes into the game and the Engineers took a 13-11 lead with a Black layup one possession after a Will Fredericks dark Memmelaar, a forward, made it a six-point run with hook shot at 11:22 and a Jonny Angbazo baseline dunk put RPI ahead 17-11 two minutes later.

The Bison answered with a 6-0 run before Memmelaar connected on jumper near the foul line. That was the start of a 6-2 stretch for Rensselaer, but a three pointer from Jaekwon Spencer pulled Nichols to within one, 23-22. RPI’s Brian Kelly scored off a rebound for a 25-22 lead, but the Bison countered with a 6-2 surge to take a 28-27 lead with 1:37 to play.

Black nailed a corner three a minute later off a feed from Memmelaar and that is how the half ended, 30-28 in Rensselaer’s favor.

The Engineers made 12 of 33 shots from the floor (36.4%) in the first half, while Nichols connected on 12 of 31 (38.7%). Both teams pulled down 20 rebounds with Memmelaar grabbing four.

The score remained one possession after the first 1:30 of the second half, but a layup by Memmelaar and a triple from Black put RPI ahead by eight points (41-33) at the four minute mark. A pair of free throws from Jakigh Dottin of Nichols made it 41-35, but Memmelaar scored on a jumper and a pair of free throws before a fast break layup by Black increased the advantage to 12 points, 47-35, with 14 minutes to play

The Bison used a 7-0 run to pull within 47-42 with 10:50 to play but Memmelaar and Black combined for five points to push the lead back to double digits, 52-42. Nichols cut it to seven points on two separate occasions, including on a Matt Morrow jumper in the paint with seven minutes left, but again RPI thwarted the comeback attempt. Black scored on a layup, Angbazo had a dunk and Memmelaar nailed a shot from behind the arc for a 61-47 edge with 4:42 to go. The lead remained double digits the rest of the way and reached 20 points (78-58) on a Fredericks layup with 32 seconds remaining.

Black connected on 9 of 16 shots including 3 of 4 from three point range and 5 of 5 from the free throw line for game-high honors. Two of his seven rebounds came on the offensive glass, while Memmelaar had three offensive rebounds among his game-high 10. He made 8 of 17 shots from the floor and all six attempts from the foul line. His five assists tied for second on the team with want ruby, who added 14 points. Angbazo had six assists, six rebounds and seven points.

RPI collected 24 assists on its 28 made baskets, while it turned the ball over only 11 times. Nichols had 14 turnovers and 13 assists on 23 made hoops.

Four players reached double figures for the Bison, led by Tahmeen Dupree and Jason O’Regan, both of whom scored 13.

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