January 18, 2014


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Men's Basketball vs. Merrimack 1/18/14

Syracuse, N.Y. – Senior guard Nate Champion (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) and junior guard Naté Gause (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Poughkeepsie/Quinnipiac) combined for 44 points to lead the Le Moyne College men's basketball team to a 73-52 win over Merrimack College on Saturday afternoon in Northeast-10 Conference action at Ted Grant Court.

Champion recorded a game-high 24 points, including 13 after halftime, while dishing out a game-best six assists and, grabbing four rebounds and posting two steals. Champion, whose final assist of the game was the 400th of his career, tallied at least 10 points in each half for the fourth time this season. With 8:11 left in the second half, Champion missed the front end of a "1-and-1", which snapped a streak of 29 consecutive made free throws dating back to December 4 against American International. Gause registered 20 points in 27 minutes off the bench, including 12 in a span of 3:57 early in the first half. Sophomore guard Qwadere Lovell (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon) was the third Dolphin in double-digits with 10 points, while adding four assists and four rebounds.

Kevin Regan led the Warriors with 14 points and six rebounds. JT Strickland registered 12 points (10 in the first half), six rebounds and four assists. Gelvis Solano, who entered the game leading the Northeast-10 Conference in scoring at 23.5 points per game, was held to six first-half points (his first game under 12 this season) on 3-of-13 shooting from the field before fouling out with 8:11 left in the game.

After Troy Hammel gave the Warriors an 11-8 lead with a three-pointer with 16:02 left in the first half, the Dolphins rattled off nine straight points over the next 1:58 and 17 of the next 19 over 3:50 to take their first double-digit lead of the game. Graduate student center Jim Janson (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville) started the 9-0 run with a conventional three-point play, Gause followed with a lay-up, Champion made a jump shot and then Gause converted two free throws. Following a Solano lay-up, freshman forward Stan Buczek (Port Jervis, N.Y./Burke Catholic) made a lay-up and then Gause buried back-to-back three-pointers from each wing off passes from Champion to put the Dolphins up 25-13.

Following a three-pointer by Lovell with 7:36 left that gave the Dolphins a 30-17 advantage, the Warriors ran off 14 of the next 16 points over the ensuing 5:49 to pull within one point. Strickland had consecutive conventional three-point plays to ignite the run. After Buczek made a lay-up for the Dolphins, Strickland made another lay-up, Solano converted a fast-break lay-up and then Anthony Barry made a jump shot and two free throws.

The Dolphins scored the final eight points of the first half to take a 40-31 lead into the intermission. Champion started the push with a conventional three-point play, junior forward Ryan Romich (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable/Vermont Academy) followed with a lay-up with 15 seconds left and then Lovell recorded a conventional three-point play with 0.5 seconds left.

Following made baskets by each team in the opening two minutes of the second half, the Dolphins put together a 15-3 run over 4:30 to blow the game open. Champion had seven of the points on a lay-up, a conventional three-point play and a fast-break lay-up off a steal, while Gause nailed two three-pointers from the right side and Lovell made a lay-up.

The Warriors responded with an 11-2 run to close within 12 with just over eight minutes left. Regan had six of the points in the streak, while Barry had the other five. Champion had Le Moyne's two points in the span from the foul line, which ended up being the last two made free throws in the streak of 29 straight made attempts.

Le Moyne countered with 12 straight points over the next 4:50 to put the game away. Champion and Janson each had four of the points, while Gause and Lovell each had two.

The Warriors scored five of the game's last seven points to deliver the final score.

Le Moyne (9-7, 6-4 NE-10), which has won three of the last four meetings with the Warriors, is back in action on Wednesday against Saint Anselm College at 7:00 p.m.