Le Moyne cruises past Jefferson in opening round of the NCAA DII Tournament

It's the Dolphins first tournament win since 1988


Senior guard Tanner Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland/Bridgton Academy) tallied a season-high 19 points to lead the 24th-ranked Le Moyne College men’s basketball team to a 75-57 victory over Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships East Regional on Saturday evening at Ted Grant Court.

The Dolphins advance to take on Northeast-10 Conference foe The College of Saint Rose in the East Region semifinals on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The fifth-seeded Golden Knights advanced to the regional semifinals for the second straight year by defeating fourth-seeded
Saint Anselm College, 83-71.

The win marked Le Moyne’s program-record 25th of the season and the 1000th in the program’s 70-year history. The previous program record of 24 wins was originally established in 1987-88 and then equaled in the 1995-96 season. Additionally, the victory is Le Moyne’s first in the opening round of the NCAA Championships since a 64-53 win over Youngstown State in the 1963-64 season. The Dolphins last won a game in the NCAA Championships in 1987-88, when they defeated Kutztown University in a consolation game, 89-81. 

Hyland, who finished one point shy of his career high, drained 5-of-7 three-point attempts in the contest and tallied 11 of his points in the first half. Senior forward Robert Jones III (Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield/Northeastern College/Idaho State) recorded 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists. Senior forward Isaiah Eisendorf (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook/Gannon) turned in 12 points and three rebounds in 19 foul-plagued minutes, while redshirt senior guard Tyquan Rolon (Syracuse, N.Y./Nottingham/Mohawk Valley C.C.) scored 11 second-half points.

Alexander Gorton led the Rams with 17 points, including 11 in the second half. Josh Bradanese tallied 15 points, including nine in the second half, while adding four rebounds. Kaison Randolph was the third Ram in double digits with 11 points, while grabbing five rebounds.

After neither team scored over the opening 2:48 of the game, the Dolphins ran off eight straight points. Eisendorf converted a jumper, senior guard Anthony Richards (New Castle, Pa./New Castle/West Virginia Wesleyan) drained a three-pointer off a feed from Eisendorf, who then buried a trifecta of his own with 15:07 left.

The Rams answered with 11 of the next 13 points to take their first lead of the game. Five different players scored in the span, which was capped by a Randolph three-pointer with 10:55 to go.

Following two points from each team over the next minute, the Dolphins put together an 11-2 run of their own over 2:22. Hyland made a pair of three-pointers around a jumper by senior guard Russell Sangster (Rockville, Md./Bullis School) and then Jones III splashed home a three-pointer for a 23-15 advantage.

The Rams scored the next four points, but Le Moyne responded with 10 straight points and 13 of the next 15 to take its largest lead of the half. Hyland scored the first five points, Jones III recorded a conventional three-point play and then sophomore forward Tom Brown (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) tallied five straight points around two Gorton free throws.

Jefferson tallied the final six points of the half to get within 36-27 at halftime. Yevgen Sakhniuk made a pair of lay-ups around a Randolph lay-up.

Over the opening seven minutes of the second half, the teams traded points as Le Moyne’s lead bounced between nine and 13 points.

After Gorton and Bradanese connected on three-pointers around a Brown lay-up to get the Rams within 50-44 with 11:43 to play, the Dolphins scored nine of the next 10 points and 17 of the next 21 to take a 19-point lead. Rolon hit a three-pointer from each wing around a Sakhniuk free throw and then Hyland drilled his fourth three-pointer of the night. After another Sakhniuk free throw, Rolon drained his third three-pointer in the run. Hyland followed two Randolph foul shots with five consecutive points for a 67-48 lead with 3:34 left.

Following four points from each team over the ensuing 1:43, Bradanese made a three-pointer to get the Rams within 71-55, but Brown answered with a fast-break lay-up and Sangster converted two free throws to give the Dolphins their largest lead of the game, 75-55, with 1:06 left.

Prince Hickson made a lay-up with 54 seconds left for the game’s final points.

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