ECAC Champion Hawks Men's Basketball

Published on Monday, March 16th, 2009

Additional coverage:
Becker upset No. 1-seeded LasellDaily News Tribune – Waltham, MA
Becker has the Will to find a wayTelegram & Gazette – Worcester, MA

Sophomore guard Rajai Leggett (New Haven, Conn.) netted 10 point, grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, had 3 blocks, 3 steals and 4 assists and sophomore center Trey Jacobs (Lexington Park, MD) dropped in a game-high 20 points and fourth seeded Becker College used a clutch run early in the second half to pull away to a 89-73 win over seventh seeded Rivier College in the championship game of the ECAC Division III New England Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Becker College extending their school record for NCAA wins, finished the season at 22-8, the Hawks are just two seasons removed from a 3-22 record. The Raiders completed their season at 16-13.

Leggett, who was named tournament Most Outstanding Player, led the Hawks to a 9-0 opening run with two layups. After a Raiders timeout, junior forward Luke Brownell (Hubbardston, Mass.) broke the drought with a jumper at 15:55. The teams traded baskets and Becker had the biggest lead of the half at 13 points after two free throws from Travis Suber (Springfield, Mass.) at the ten minute mark to make it 24-11.

From there the Raiders erupted for a 19-8 run over the next 7:42 to take their only lead of the game at 33-32. Freshman forward Mark Williams (Malden, Mass.) converted a 3 point play, senior forward Felipe Lima (Nashua, NH) and freshman guard Joe Granato (Arlington, Mass.) both chipped in 5 points to help key the run.

Sophomore guard DeJohn Exum (New London, Conn.) put the Hawks on his back over the last two minutes of the half scoring 9 points going 3 for 4 from behind the three point arc to give Becker a 44-40 lead heading into the locker room.

Leggett, opened up the second half just like the first, scoring the first six points of the half. The Hawks build their lead to ten points, 50-40 and never looked back. They shot 60% (15 for 25) in the second half while limiting the Raiders to just 30% (9 for 30).

For the game the Hawks connected on 7 of 16 (44%) from 3-point range while Rivier hit just 7 of 24 (29%).

Raiders center DJ Poitras (Bow, NH) and Lima both finished with a team-high 13 points. Williams led the team with 7 rebounds.

For the Hawks, Exum finished with 16 points and sophomore guard Paul Gibbs (Bear, DE) chipped in with 14 points off the bench. Senior guard Travis Suber (Springfield, Mass.), recently named the New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Year, added 15 points and 5 rebounds.