BOSTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College men's basketball team ended the 2016-2017 regular season Saturday night with a 83-78 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) loss to Emerson College at Suffolk University.
Despite the loss, the Lyons still earned the No. 5 seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament thanks to a Clark University loss. With both teams falling on Saturday and finishing the season with a 5-9 conference record, the Lyons earned the tie breaker and the final seed in the tournament because of a sweep of the Courgars. Wheaton will now take on No. 4 Springfield on Wednesday, Feb. 22 in a NEWMAC Quarterfinal. The winner of the quarterfinal between No. 4 Springfield (7-7) vs. No. 5 Wheaton (5-9) will battle Babson in the first semifinal.
This marks the first time that Wheaton has made the NEWMAC Tournament since the 2011-2012 season when they fell to Babson College in the first round. Wheaton has met Springfield in the NEWMAC Tournament six times with Wheaton winning the last three meetings, most recently in the 2006-2007 season when the Lyons earned a 61-54 win in the opening round.
The Lyons had five players finish in double-figures, starting with a team-high 15 points from senior Quinton Dale. Dale also finished with a team-high seven rebounds and four assists, while also coming up with one of the Lyons two blocks. Alex DuBrow and Nick Geremia each finished with 11 points, while Ryan Fogarty and Timothy Berry each netted 10 points.
Geoffrey Gray led all players with 22 points for the Lions, while teammate Michael Sheng chipped in 17 points and Kent Ellertson 13. Sheng finished with the games only double-double, collecting 10 boards to go with his 17 points.
Wheaton started the game strong, running out to an early 4-0 lead just a minute into the game courtesy of baskets from DuBrow and Dale. Emerson turned the tides moments later, capturing its first lead of the game with 12:43 on the clock with a layup by Gray. The momentum stayed the way of the home team throughout the remainder of the half as the Lions took a stunning 44-26 advantage into halftime.
The Lyons outscored the Emerson Lions 52-39 in the second half, getting as close as nine points, 57-48, halfway through the period. Wheaton continued to chip away at the deficit, pulling within four points, 74-70, with a minute and a half remaining. That would be as close as the visitors would be able to get with Emerson closing out the contest with the 83-78 victory.
Wheaton travels to Springfield College on Wednesday, Feb. 22 for a 7:30 p.m. NEWMAC Quarterfinal contest.