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MBB: Colonels clinch postseason berth with win over Misericordia

Ben Mandell, Asst. Sports Editor

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — The Wilkes University Colonels clinched a spot in the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom tournament with their 86-72 win over the Misericordia University Cougars.

“It feels really good to be back,” junior Marcus Robinson (23 point) said. “We missed last year and we were I there my freshman year, but overall it just feels good to be back.”

Robinson dominated once again Saturday, proving to be one of the premier two way players in the MAC Freedom. Robinson showed early on in this game why he is a force to be reckoned with offensively as he was honored for his entry into the Colonels 1,000 point club, then hitting his first two threes to start the game.

The Colonels jumped out to an early lead, but the Cougars stormed back and took a nine point lead. The Colonels were able to do what they do best though and kick it into gear as the first half started to wind down as they took a 31-29 lead. With four seconds left, The Colonels inbounded the ball and Connor Evans (9 points) pulled up behind the arc to hit a three-point buzzer beater going into halftime to push the lead to 34-29.

“When Marcus is going well, the team feeds off of that,” Colonels Head Coach Izzi Metz said. “The team loves to see him have success and it fuels the other guys and they continue to play at a high level.”

The second half was controlled by the Colonels for the most part, as the Cougars were briefly able to grab the lead behind a valiant effort from the Cougars Tony Harding (25 points), who hurt his ankle in the first half. Harding’s effort was not enough to slow the Colonels though as they surged behind Robinson, Zach Brunner (20 points), and Rob Pecorelli (15 points). The Colonels started to create separation on the scoreboard around the four minute mark and they were able to put the game to bed with a minute left when the Cougars Head Coach Willie Chandler was called for technical foul for arguing with an official.

“I knew it was going to be a hard fought game,” Metz said. “Misericordia is too good of a team to not come in here and play a good game. They made their shots, and it really took us until the ten minute mark in the second half to get our defense going.”

The win puts the Colonels into the MAC Freedom tournament and with two games left to play, the Colonels look to lock up home court. They control their own destiny, as they sit alone atop of the conference, but they still need to win at least one more game to secure the home court advantage.

“Of course you’d rather play at home for a lot of reasons,” Metz explained. “You don’t have to travel, you can sleep in your own bed, and it’s your fans that are cheering behind you.”

The Colonels have enjoyed their home court at the Marts Center where they boast a 9-1 (6-0 conference) record.

“[Home Court] definitely means a lot,” senior Zach Brunner said. “But we still have two games left to get there so we’re moving on to King’s on Tuesday.”

Misericordia did end up clinching the tournament as well as Eastern and DeSales following the King’s loss, so the fur teams making up the tournament now will fight for higher seeds.

The Colonels will continue the journey towards the top seed in the MAC Freedom as they head across town to King’s College in the “Battle for the Barre”. The Colonels took the first meeting between these two teams 76-64 following an explosive second half from the Colonels.

The Monarchs are now officially eliminated from the MAC Freedom tournament but they will still look to spoil the Colonels chances at the top seed.

Wilkes 86, Misericordia 72

Misericordia (72) — Tony Harding 10 1-4 25, Jason Kenny 6 4-5 18, Stone McCreary  5 0-0 12, Noah Rivers 1 4-6 6, Tre’ Fields 1 2-3 4, Tyerell Mann  2 2-3 7, Patrick Douthit 0 0-0 0, Brendan Leonard 0 0-0 0, Bryce Mondorff 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 13-21 72.

Wilkes (86) — Marcus Robinson 5 9-9 23, Zach Brunner 10 0-0 20, Rob Pecorelli 6 0-3 15, Connor Evans 1 6-9 9, Mark Mullins 3 2-5 8, Landon Henry 2 0-0 5, Tommy Bowen 2 0-0 4, Mason Gross 1 0-0 2, Jack Bova 0 0-0 0, John Goffredo 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 17-26 86.

Halftime score — Wilkes 34-29.

Three-point goals — MIS 9 (Harding 4, Kenny 2, McCreary 2, Mann); WIL 9 (Robinson 4, Pecorelli 3, Evans, Henry).

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MBB: Colonels clinch postseason berth with win over Misericordia