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Captains powered past Colby; advances in NCAA Division III Tourney

Christopher Newport held Colby College to a season-low 64 points Friday night and will next play Nichols College Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
Credit: CNU Athletics

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Christopher Newport held Colby College to a season-low 64 points Friday night, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship with a 74-64 triumph at Canavan Arena. The Captains, now 22-6, will play the Bison of Nichols College Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. in the second round. Nichols advanced Friday night with a 74-72 come-from-behind victory over host school Stevens Institute of Technology.

Christopher Newport opened the action by holding Colby to just 17 first half points, and after jumping in front, 9-8, never trailed again. The Captains had a 32-17 halftime edge, and the Mules could get no closer than four during two second half surges. Senior Luther Gibbs and junior Adrian Beasley led the way with 13 points each for the Captains.

"We played with a real passion defensively in the opening half," Head Coach John Krikorian said. "That start was so important for us. We knew eventually a team like Colby would start hitting their shots, and when they did we were able to withstand them. We've got six seniors and that's what this tournament is all about. They really lifted us up."

The Captains also got double-digit performances from two other players...with most of their damage done in the second half. Senior Dalon McHugh II scored 11 points, nine after intermission, and junior Liam Harrington came off the bench to score ten, all after halftime, to help the Captains hold off the Mules. Six of Harrington's ten points came in the final two minutes. 

"We really needed guys to step up at key times down the stretch, and Dalon and Liam gave us some big buckets when things got tight in the second half," Krikorian continued. "Now we've got to take this win, enjoy it for a bit and move forward to start getting ready for tomorrow."

The 17 points allowed Friday night in the first half was a season low for the Christopher Newport defense, as the Mules were able to make only six of 31 first half shots (19 percent). Colby ended up 26 of 69 for the game (38 percent), and eight of 26 on three-pointers (31 percent). The Mules, who were ranked 12th in the country, led the nation in three-pointers attempted coming into the tourney. Colby finished the season with a 24-4 record and was led in scoring by Wallace Tucker, who tallied 13 points off the bench.

Christopher Newport out-rebounded Colby, 49-41, led by Beasley, McHugh, and Gibbs with seven each. The Captains were able to record the ten-point win despite shooting just four of 24 (17 percent) from three-point range.

The triumph for the Captains marked the third in two seasons over schools from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Last year on the way to a Final Four berth, Christopher Newport defeated fellow NESCAC members Hamilton and Williams.

Saturday's second-round battle with Nichols College will be the first meeting ever of the schools. The Bison stunned the home fans at Canavan Arena by storming back to beat Stevens, 74-72, in the second game Friday evening. Nichols, now 21-8, was led by 28 points from senior DeAnte Bruton.