New York Colleges: Wagner Seahawks

Iona, Manhattan, Stony Brook still in mix

March, 8, 2014
St. John's took a big step towards securing an NCAA tournament at-large bid Saturday. But three other local schools moved closer to the Big Dance as well.

Iona and Manhattan both won their quarterfinal games in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament in Springfield, Mass. And Stony Brook won its quarterfinal game in the America East tournament in Albany.

Iona (21-9, 17-3), the MAAC regular season champ and top seed, cruised past No. 8 seed Rider, 94-71. Tre Bowman scored a game-high 28 points. The Gaels will next play No. 4 seed Canisius on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Manhattan (23-7, 15-5), the No. 2 seed in the MAAC, pulled away from No. 7 seed St. Peter's in the second half and won comfortably, 72-58. Rhamel Brown scored a game-high 18 points. The Jaspers will play No. 3 seed Quinnipiac on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Stony Brook (22-9, 13-3), the No. 2 seed in the America East, manhandled No. 7 seed Maine, 80-54. Conference player of the year Jameel Warney had a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds. The Seawolves will play No. 3 seed Hartford on Sunday at 7:15 p.m.

(You can watch all three games Sunday on ESPN3.)

Wagner (19-12, 12-4), the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Conference, was upset at home in the NEC semifinals by No. 4 seed Mount St. Mary's, 77-72. Kenneth Ortiz, the three-time conference defensive player of the year, scored a career-high 26 points in his final college game.

And Hofstra (10-23, 5-11) -- the No. 8 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association -- gave top seed Delaware all it could handle in the CAA quarterfinals before ultimately losing, 87-76. The Pride led by three at the half. Zeke Upshaw finished his college career by scoring a team-high 23 points.

Wagner suspends Jay Harris for season

February, 14, 2014
NEW YORK -- Wagner College has suspended junior guard Jay Harris for the remainder of the season, citing a violation of school policy.

Harris, the team's third-leading scorer (10.3 ppg), will sit out the final seven games of the regular season, plus any postseason games the Seahawks play.

"It is an unfortunate situation but there are school rules and when you don't follow them, these are the consequences," said Wagner coach Bashir Mason, in a statement released by the school.

The Seahawks are currently 12-11 overall, and 6-4 in the Northeast Conference, tied for third place. They had won three of their past four games.

Wagner has made the NCAA tournament just once in school history, back in 2003.

W2W4: St. John's vs. Wagner

November, 15, 2013
Here are three things to watch for when St. John's (0-1) hosts Wagner (1-1) on Friday evening at Carnesecca Arena.

Tipoff is 6 p.m., and you can watch the game on Fox Sports 2.

Pressure's on: Is Nov. 15 too early to label a game a must-win? Maybe -- but it's a critical game nonetheless. St. John's is coming off an 11-point loss to Wisconsin to start the season, it's the Red Storm's home opener and they're playing a Northeast Conference opponent.

That said, Wagner was picked to win the NEC in the conference's preseason coaches' poll, receiving seven of the 10 first-place votes. St. John's had better not take this game lightly or come out sluggish.

It's the first of four consecutive games at Carnesecca before Thanksgiving against teams from lesser conferences. The Red Storm need to clean up during this stretch and start building some momentum.

Rookie watch: D'Angelo Harrison and JaKarr Sampson delivered against Wisconsin, scoring 27 and 21 points, respectively. But no one else scored more than six.

That includes much-ballyhooed freshman Rysheed Jordan, who had a rather ho-hum debut against the Badgers -- six points, three rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 24 minutes, shooting 2-for-9 from the field.

Let's see if Jordan looks better in his regular-season home debut. Jordan is expected to be a major contributor this year, critical to the team's success (or lack thereof).

Wagner point guard Kenneth Ortiz, a six-foot senior, has won NEC Defensive Player of the Year honors the past two seasons. He could guard Harrison or Jordan.

The Seahawks: Wagner opened the season with a 74-62 loss at Penn State last Friday, followed by a 75-67 home win Tuesday over Division II Chestnut Hill College.

Ortiz scored a team-high 20 points against Penn State. Fellow guard Latif Rivers, a 6-foot-1 senior, scored 22 points against Chestnut Hill.

The Seahawks shot an abysmal 2-for-23 from 3-point range against Penn State and 3-for-12 against Chestnut Hill.

They're currently ranked 347th among 349 Division I schools in offensive field-goal percentage (29.9).

Iona's Jones wins Haggerty Award

April, 15, 2013
Iona guard Lamont "Momo" Jones has won the 2013 Haggerty Award, given to the best Division I men's basketball player in the New York metropolitan area.

Jones, a 6-foot senior from Harlem, finished third in the country in scoring, averaging 22.6 points per game. He led the Gaels to their second consecutive NCAA tournament.

Stony Brook's Steve Pikiell was named Coach of the Year by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association, and St. John's freshman forward Jakarr Sampson was named Rookie of the Year.

The All-Met first team, besides Jones, includes St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison, Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin, Iona's Sean Armand and a pair of LIU Brooklyn players, Jamal Olasewere and Jason Brickman.

The second team features Sampson, Myles Mack (Rutgers), Tommy Brenton (Stony Brook), Rhamel Brown (Manhattan) and Ella Ellis (Army).

The third team features Chris Obekpa and Phil Greene from St. John's, plus C.J. Garner (LIU Brooklyn), Jameel Warney (Stony Brook), Jonathon Williams (Wagner) and Chris Flores (N.J.I.T.).

Wagner promotes Bashir Mason

March, 26, 2012
Wagner has promoted assistant coach Bashir Mason to head coach, replacing Danny Hurley.

Click here to read more.

W2W4: Selection Sunday

March, 11, 2012
Here are three things to watch for on Selection Sunday, for all you local college basketball fans out there.

The official NCAA tournament selection show begins at 6 p.m. ET, and will air on CBS.

FLY, BLACKBIRDS, FLY: LIU Brooklyn, your Northeast Conference champions, are the only New York-area team that's definitely going dancing. Now it's just a matter of, where are they headed?

The latest Bracketology projection has LIU as a No. 15 seed in the West region, playing No. 2 seed Kansas in Omaha, Nebraska.

I will be watching the selection show with the Blackbirds on campus, and will have a postgame reaction story plus video from the event later tonight.

ON THE EDGE OF THEIR SEATS: Seton Hall and Iona are our two bubble teams -- both have a chance to be in the field of 68, but it could go either way.

The Pirates are currently the second-to-last team in the field, according to the ESPN bracket. They would be a No. 12 seed in the East, and have to play a play-in game versus BYU in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Gaels are currently the second team among the first four out -- they appear to be in the more precarious position, and would likely have to play a play-in game as well.

DON'T FORGET: The NIT bracket will also be revealed tonight, at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. Iona will definitely be in the NIT field if it doesn't make the NCAA tournament, because it won the MAAC regular season championship.

Seton Hall will likely be in the NIT as well, if it fails to make the Big Dance. Also, Stony Brook -- the America East regular season champions, who lost their conference championship game to Vermont on Saturday -- will definitely be in the NIT field. And Wagner -- which went 25-6 this season, finishing second to LIU Brooklyn in the NEC -- also could make the NIT.

LIU survives on a wild day for NY hoops

March, 4, 2012
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- As much fun as March is, it can be cruel, too.

On Sunday morning, four New York college hoops teams were preparing to play conference tournament semifinal games. All four were favored -- three regular season conference champs (Iona, Stony Brook, LIU Brooklyn) and a runner-up (Wagner). All had their sights set squarely on the NCAA tournament.

In the span of eight hours, two of the four had their dreams snuffed out. The other two survived, by the skin of their teeth.

LIU was one of the fortunate ones. The Blackbirds came from eight points behind with less than eight minutes remaining to sneak past Quinnipiac, 78-75, and advance to the Northeast Conference championship game.

“I thought our guys showed unbelievable character, played with fantastic poise,” said LIU coach Jim Ferry. “I’m just proud to be the coach of these guys, [with] the fortitude that they showed tonight.”

LIU (24-6) had only lost two conference games all year, and had swept a pair of games from Quinnipiac in the regular season. But the Bobcats gave the Blackbirds everything they could handle the third time around, coming from 10 points down late in the first half to take a 65-57 lead with 7:35 left.

With all the momentum going the other way, LIU responded with a 16-4 run from there, with 14 of the 16 points coming from NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd (21 points, nine rebounds) and point guard Jason Brickman (18 points, five assists).

The Blackbirds, who won the NEC tournament and went to the Big Dance a year ago, said the experience they gained last season has paid big dividends.” I feel like that experience has helped us throughout this season,” said forward Jamal Olasewere (13 points, seven rebounds). “It keeps us poised in situations.”

“I can say that in the huddles and the timeouts, there was no nervousness, there was no anxiety,” added Ferry. “They really all kept their poise and just kept talking about getting stops.”

“I thought LIU made a ton of poised plays and tough plays during their run, and we got a little skittery on the offensive end during that stretch,” said Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore. “They played like you expect a defending champion to play on their home court in the last eight minutes, and we didn’t make enough plays to match how good they were. We were probably two plays short.”

Now LIU is one win away from back-to-back trips to college basketball's promised land. On Wednesday evening, they’ll host the NEC championship game -- a rematch of last year’s thriller between the Blackbirds and Robert Morris, a game LIU won in overtime, 85-82.

In their only meeting of this season, Robert Morris knocked off LIU in Pennsylvania, 75-66.

“It is gonna take exactly what we had to do today to win that basketball game,” said Ferry. “We need to play with great poise, we need to trust each other, we need to play better than we did at Robert Morris -- they outplayed us at their place.

“They’re going to the conference championship game for the fourth time in a row -- they’ve been there, they know what it’s about, and it doesn’t surprise me that they’re there again. So I think it’s gonna be a very difficult challenge for us.”

The reason Robert Morris, the NEC's No. 3 seed, is back there again this season is that they upset Wagner in Staten Island earlier Sunday, 71-64.

Danny Hurley’s Seahawks set a new school record for wins with 25 this year, earning the No. 2 seed in the NEC. But it all comes down to the conference tournament in college basketball, as we all know.

Iona feels Wagner’s pain, and then some. The Gaels, the regular season champs in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and also a 25-game winner, got picked off by No. 4 seed Fairfield on Sunday afternoon, 85-75. One bad day at the end of a wonderful season will likely send Iona to the NIT.

Cruel, indeed.

But for every heartbreaking story this month, there seems to be a heartwarmer as well. Stony Brook, the America East regular season champs, looking to make the Big Dance for the very first time in school history, was tied with No. 4 seed Albany in the final seconds of their game Sunday afternoon. That’s when forward Dallis Joyner tipped in a rebound at the buzzer to send the Seawolves within one victory of their first-ever bid.

Stony Brook will host the America East championship game, next Saturday at 11 a.m.

Iona and Wagner got more attention this season -- Iona because of its NBA prospects, Wagner because of its coach’s last name.

But LIU Brooklyn and Stony Brook are the two locals left standing.

Are we in for more heartwarming? Or more heartbreak?

Tune in Wednesday night, and Saturday morning.

Wagner upset by Robert Morris in NEC

March, 4, 2012

Wagner, the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Conference tournament, was upset by No. 3 seed Robert Morris on Sunday afternoon, 71-64.

The Seahawks were at home, and led by two at halftime, but fell behind early in the second half and couldn't complete a comeback. Velton Jones had 25 points to lead Robert Morris; Latif Rivers had 18 in a losing effort for Wagner.

This will be a bitter pill for the Wagner players and coaches to swallow, but it has still been a wonderful season for the Seahawks, under second-year coach Danny Hurley. They set a new school records for wins in a season, with a record of 25-6.

We'll have to wait and see if Wagner gets invited to the NIT, or another of the smaller postseason tournaments.

W2W4: Wagner vs. Robert Morris

March, 4, 2012
Here are three things to watch for when Wagner (25-5, 15-3 NEC) takes on Robert Morris (23-9, 13-5 NEC) on Sunday afternoon at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island, N.Y.

Tip-off is at noon, and you can watch the game on MSG.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: A spot in the Northeast Conference championship game. Wagner, the No. 2 seed in the NEC tournament, has only made the NCAA tournament once in school history, in 2003. Robert Morris, the No. 3 seed, went to the Big Dance as recently as 2010, when it nearly upset Villanova.

The two teams met once during the regular season, on Feb. 2, with Wagner winning at home, 80-69.

THE SEAHAWKS: Wagner, under second-year coach Danny Hurley, has three players averaging in double figures, led by 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Latif Rivers (14.5 ppg).

The Seahawks are 52nd in the country in scoring (73.7 ppg), 29th in free throw shooting (74.8 percent), and 11th in turnover margin (plus-4.0 per game). And they've won 10 of their past 11 games.

THE COLONIALS: Robert Morris, under second-year coach Andrew Toole, has two players averaging in double figures, led by 6-foot junior guard Velton Jones (16.4 ppg).

The Colonials are 41st in the country in rebound margin (plus-4.8 per game), 20th in steals (8.5 per game), and 59th in turnover margin (plus-2.0 per game), but just 238th in field goal percentage (42.2). And they've won seven of their past eight games.

Your Sunday tourney viewing guide

March, 4, 2012
March Madness has officially arrived, and four local mid-majors are still in the running for a bid to the Big Dance.

All four are in action on Sunday, playing in their conference tournament semifinals -- here's the list:

* Wagner, the No. 2 seed in the NEC, hosts No. 3 seed Robert Morris at noon -- you can watch the game on MSG.

* Iona, the top seed in the MAAC, plays No. 4 seed Fairfield in Springfield, Mass., at 2 p.m. -- you can watch the game via ESPN3.

* Stony Brook, the top seed in the America East, plays No. 4 seed Albany in West Hartford, Conn., at 5 p.m. -- you can watch the game via ESPN3.

* LIU Brooklyn, the top seed in the NEC, hosts No. 5 seed Quinnipiac at 6 p.m. -- you can watch the game on MSG.

LIU, Wagner advance to the NEC semis

March, 2, 2012
LIU Brooklyn and Wagner, the top two seeds in the Northeast Conference tournament, both won their quarterfinal games on Thursday night.

LIU saw a 15-point first-half lead dwindle to just one after intermission, but held off Sacred Heart, 80-68. Jamal Olasewere led five Blackbirds in double figures with 20 points.

Wagner knocked off Central Connecticut State 87-77, with Kenneth Ortiz leading the way with 16 points.

St. Francis (NY), the No. 4 seed, wasn't as fortunate, losing at home to No. 5 seed Quinnipiac, 80-72.

The NEC semifinals will be held on Sunday. Wagner will host No. 3 seed Robert Morris at noon; LIU will host Quinnipiac at 6 p.m.

Wagner backcourt receives multiple honors

March, 1, 2012
Wagner guard Kenneth Ortiz has been named the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and teammates and fellow guards Latif Rivers and Tyler Murray were named to the All-NEC second team.

Rivers (a sophomore) and Murray (a senior) are two of the top three scorers for the Seahawks, averaging 14.4 and 11.8 points per game, respectively. Ortiz (a sophomore) also leads the team in assists per game (4.2).

Wagner, under second-year coach Dan Hurley, set a new school record for wins during the regular season, finishing 24-5 (15-3 NEC). The Seahawks, who own the No. 2 seed in the NEC tournament, host Central Connecticut State in the quarterfinals, Thursday night at 7 p.m.

NEC tournament begins on Thursday

February, 27, 2012
The Northeast Conference tournament tips off on Thursday, with three local schools vying for a championship and an NCAA tournament bid.

LIU Brooklyn (22-8, 16-2 NEC), the top seed, takes on No. 8 seed Sacred Heart. Wagner (24-5, 15-3 NEC), the No. 2 seed, faces No. 7 seed Central Connecticut State. And St. Francis of Brooklyn (15-14, 12-6 NEC), the No. 4 seed, plays No. 5 seed Quinnipiac.

All NEC tournament games are played at the home venue of the higher-seeded team. All three games on Thursday are at 7 p.m., with the semifinals three days later on Sunday.

Both LIU and Wagner ended the regular season on a losing note -- LIU lost to Monmouth 106-78, while Wagner lost to Central Connecticut 78-61. But both had already clinched their No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

LIU Brooklyn clinches NEC title

February, 24, 2012
LIU Brooklyn (22-7, 16-1 NEC) clinched the Northeast Conference regular season championship with a 91-80 win at Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday night.

Junior forward Julian Boyd had 21 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. Jason Brickman had 13 assists.

That means the Blackbirds will have home-court advantage throughout the NEC tournament, which begins on March 1.

Wagner (24-4, 15-2 NEC) is now locked into the No. 2 seed, but the Seahawks set a new school record for wins with their 86-73 win over Bryant on Thursday. Junior forward Jonathon Williams had a huge game, with 27 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

St. Francis of Brooklyn (15-13, 12-5 NEC) lost at Monmouth on Thursday night, 79-73. That, coupled with Robert Morris' win at Sacred Heart, drops the Terriers to fourth place in the NEC, with one regular season game remaining.

A big Thursday night in the NEC

February, 23, 2012
The race for the Northeast Conference regular season championship could be decided tonight.

LIU Brooklyn (21-7, 15-1 NEC), with a win at Fairleigh Dickinson (2-25, 1-15 NEC), would clinch the title for the second straight year, and home-court advantage throughout the NEC tournament. Obviously, looking at the records, an FDU win would be stunning. But, you never know.

Wagner (23-4, 14-2 NEC) has already clinched the No. 2 seed in the NEC tournament. But with a win at Bryant (2-26, 1-15 NEC), the Seahawks would set a new school record for wins in a season. Again, looking at the records, a Wagner loss would be shocking. But we'll see what happens.

And St. Francis of Brooklyn (15-12, 12-4 NEC), which is tied for third with Robert Morris in the conference plays at Monmouth (10-19, 8-8 NEC). The Terriers are hoping to secure the No. 3 seed in the NEC tournament.

All three games tip off at 7 p.m.