CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The SUNY-Canton men's basketball team used an extended run to beging the second half to claim the American Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) Championship, following an 84-71 victory over Pine Manor College, Saturday afternoon. All five starters registered double figures lead by tournament MVP, senior guard Romario Fletcher (Queens, N.Y.) game-high 24 points while ripping down 16 rebounds.
SUNY-Canton improves finishes the season with a 19-8 record while Pine Manor drops to 16-9 and will wait until Monday for a spot in the ECAC Championship Tournament.
Roos senior guard Sam Annorh (Queens, N.Y.) was also one of three Roos named to the All-Tournament Team, following up Fletcher, netting 21 points including going a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. Sophomore guard Adrian Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and junior forward Walt Jeter (Fort Drum, N.Y.) notched 11 points while first year forward Ibu Smith (Brooklyn, N.Y.) rounded out the five in double figures with 10. Senior guard Rashad Richardson (Rochester, N.Y.) was the third member of the Roos named to the All-Tournament Team finishing with seven points.
Pine Manor first year center Ellis Reed (Hartford, Conn.) was one of two players selected to the All-Tournament Team for the Gators, recording a double-double tallying 14 points while pulling down a game-high 19 rebounds. First year forward Rasheed Bell (Boston, Mass.) was the second Gator named, finishing with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds.
Junior guard Taverick Roberson (Pittsfield, Mass.) opened the game with a long range trey to put the Gators on the scoreboard first but the lead was short-lived. The Roos responded with an 11-2 run to take the 11-5 lead just four minutes into the ball-game.
SUNY-Canton controlled the majority of the first half, leading by as many as nine points, 28-19, with just under six minutes remaining the period. But the Gators began to make their move. Sophomore guard Erick Rosario (Lynn, Mass.) found Roberson at the perimeter to ignite a 9-2 run. Roberson capped off the three-minute run connected with Bell for a three-point jumper to take their first lead, 31-30, since the opening bucket with 2:58 remaining in the half.
The last three minutes of the half was a barn-burner with the Roos regaining the lead following a pair of free throws from Annorh but the Gators quickly answered. Bell and Roberson knocked down back-to-back lay-ups to extend the lead to 35-32. After Richardson closed the gap to one, 35-34, knocking down a jumper, Bell provided some breathing room draining the Gators fourth three of the half to extend the lead to three, 37-34.
Pine Manor would need it as Richardson knocked down two from the free-throw line with 10 seconds left as Pine Manor went into the locker room clinging to the 37-36 lead.
When the teams emerged from the locker rooms at the start of the second half, the Gators extended their lead to six following lay-up by Roberson and three-point jumper by Bell, 42-36. But a six-point deficit was not going to stop the Roos. After Reid picked up his second foul of the game, Annorh drained a pair from the charity stripe to spark a 19-3 run that eclipsed nearly half of the second period. The Roos never looked back and cruised to the 84-71 victory.
ACAA All-Tournament Team
MVP: Romario Fletcher, SUNY-Canton
Sam Annorh, SUNY-Canton
Rashad Richardson, SUNY-Canton
Rasheed Bell, Pine Manor College
Ellis Reid, Pine Manor College
Marcus Rhett, Alfred State