Trinity Men's Hoops Opens NCAA Tourney Friday Night At Home Against Colby-Sawyer

Bantams/Chargers Winner To Play Eastern Connecticut or Salisbury Saturday Night In Oosting Gym

​Hartford, Conn., Mar 02, 2015 - The Trinity College men's basketball team, which has a 20-6 record and finished as the top seed in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament for the third time with a 9-1 league mark, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.  The Bantams, coached by James Cosgrove (5th Season) were additionally selected as a host site for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament and will open with a 7:30 p.m. game on Friday, March 6 against the Colby-Sawyer College Chargers (19-6).  Also Friday at Trinity's Oosting Gymnasium, the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors (22-5) will face the Salisbury University Gulls (20-7) at 5:30 p.m. with the Friday night winners playing in the second round on Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m. in Oosting Gym.  Tickets for all games will be $6 for adults and $3 for students. Trinity students will be admitted at no charge courtesy of the College's athletic department.  

Trinity has now qualified for the NCAA Tournament eight times, beginning 20 years ago when the Bantams won four games to reach the 1994-95 NCAA Final Four.  Trinity owns an 8-8 all-time record in the tourney and has been the second round four times, the third round twice, the quarterfinals twice, and the Final Four once.  In its most recent appearance in the tournament, the Bantams lost to Coast Guard, 70-65, in the opening round in 2008, while the Bantams downed Colby-Sawyer once previously in the NCAA Tourney, 75-47, in the opening round in 2001-02.  Trinity joins Amherst, Bates, and Wesleyan as representatives from the NESCAC to make the tournament field. Trinity has a 4-1 record against the 62 teams in the tourney, having won, 81-76, against Springfield, 66-59 against Bates, 70-54 at Amherst, and, 65-61, at Wesleyan, during the regular season.  Colby-Sawyer is 0-1 against the tourney field with a 91-83 home loss in overtime to Keene State, and the Chargers and Bantams have no common opponents.

Trinity saw its six-game winning streak come to a halt with a 55-52 loss in the NESCAC Semifinals against eventual NESCAC Champion Wesleyan over the weekend.  Trailing most of the game, the Bantams pulled to within one at 53-52 in the final three minutes thanks to six late points by senior tri-captain center George Papadeas (Athens, Greece), but had game-tying and go-ahead shots fall off the mark at the end.  Trinity senior tri-captain Hart Gliedman (New York, N.Y.) and Papadeas scored 12 points apiece, while junior guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) had 11 and junior forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 10.  Papadeas and Starks also grabbed seven boards each, while Papadeas had a pair of blocked shots, and junior guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) notched five assists and three steals off the Trinity bench.

Trinity tops the NESCAC in scoring defense (63.1 ppg), is tied for the league lead in field-goal percentage defense (.383, 14th in nation), and is second in rebounding margin (+7.8 per game, 16th in nation).  Starks ranks 11th in the NESCAC in scoring with 13.5 ppg, while sophomore forward Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Ajayi are seventh and 13th in rebounding, respectively, at 8.1 and 6.3 per game.  Starks is tied for second in the league in free-throw percentage at .887 (94-106, 21st in nation) and fourth in three-point field-goal percentage at .440 (55-125).  Ajayi is tied for fifth in the conference in steals with 1.6 per game, followed by Hurd who is tied for ninth with 1.3 per contest, and Ogundeko is tied for sixth in blocked shots with 1.4 per game. Ajayi averages 9.8 ppg, while Ogundeko is scoring 9.7 ppg, and Papadeas averages 7.8 ppg.  Gliedman and junior Rick Naylor (Sudbury, Vt.) are outstanding defensively on the wing and have combined to average 10.5 ppg and make 43 off 110 three-pointers between them.  Ogundeko, Naylor, Hurd, who leads Trinity in assists with 80, senior tri-captain forward Steve Spirou (Pelham, N.H.), and sophomore swingman Chris Turnbull (Ridgewood, N.J.) give Trinity a stellar second unit.

Coached by William Foti (23rd Season), Colby-Sawyer won the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) for the first time since joining the league in 2011-12. The Chargers have won eight of the last nine games and will enter the tournament on a three-game winning streak. The team is led by junior Peter Donato (Portland, Maine) who was named NAC Player and Defensive Player of the Year. He averages 14.7 points and 6.8 boards per game, while also leading the team with 36 blocks, while junior Wol Majong is second on the team with 14.2 points per game.  The Chargers boast one of the highest scoring lineups in the nation with 79.4 points per game.  This year's trip to the NCAA Tournament is the program's fourth and first since 2002-03 when they lost to Hamilton.

Tournament Bracket