Men's basketball wins tournament, heads to the NCAAs

The Cougars celebrate their NEWMAC tournament win Feb. 28.

The Cougars celebrate their NEWMAC tournament win Feb. 28.

Fresh off of the fourth NEWMAC Tournament Championship in school history, upstart Clark University will face Albright University out of the Commonwealth Conference in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.  The game is slated to begin at 8 p.m. Friday, March 5, at Albright, in Reading, PA. 

The Cougars, who earned the NEWMAC's automatic bid into the tournament following three straight upsets of conference foes, including top-ranked MIT, make the program's 16th all-time appearance.

"Clark turns upsets into delight - Improbable run clinches NCAA tourney slot"  -  Read coverage in the Worcester T&G Sports section.

 

At 16-12 overall Clark enters the tournament with the most losses of any team in the 61 team field but have won three straight contests and have the most wins in a season since 2002-03.

The Cougars are paced by senior Mark Alexander (Providence, R.I.) who is averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game and 4.3 boards per outing. He has two games this season of 30 points or more and after last weekend's performance in the NEWMAC Tournament, now ranks fifth on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,625 points.

Reigning NEWMAC player of the Week Jack Minister (Manchester, England) is coming off one of the best stretches of his career, as he averaged 18.5 points in the last two games, connecting on 9-of-16 three-pointers.

Albright, meanwhile, is 21-5 overall and captured the Middle Atlantic Conference tournament title behind the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Zac Shaeffer. A, 5-10 junior, Shaeffer has nine games of 20 points or more, including a 44-point outburst in a double overtime win over Messiah.

Should the Cougars advance, they would face the winner of Cabrini College and Randolph-Macon - a team that opened the season 13-0 and held the No. 1 spot atop the polls for three weeks. That game would be played on Saturday at 7 p.m.