NEC Tournament Headquarters
Hackensack, NJ - Andrea Crosariol had 18 points to lead Fairleigh Dickinson University men's basketball team past the Wagner College, 58-52, to win the 2005 Northeast Conference Championship and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Knights have now won four NEC Tournament titles and return to the NCAAs for the first time since 1998. The NCAA Tournament seedings will be revealed on Sunday, March 13 at 6:00 pm at CBS-TV
Crosariol led all scorers, while Mensah Peterson contributed 13 points and Chad Timberlake had 11 to round out the Knights in double-figures.
Durell Vinson led the Seahawks with 14 points and eight rebounds and Mark Porter had 10 points.
Mensah Peterson hit a three-pointer with 23 seconds left and Crosariol made both free throws after getting fouled while grabbing a defensive rebound on the other end to give the Knights a 58-50 lead. DeEarnest McLemore hit a layup with 10 seconds left, but it would not be enough as the Knights ran out the clock, making the final 58-52.
Vinson started the second half strong for the Seahawks, dunking in the first minute to put Wagner within two, 28-26. Fairleigh Dickinson built an 8-2 run, sparked by five points from Crosariol.
The Knights staged another run, taking an 11-point lead on a Gordon Klaiber three-pointer, making it 47-36 with remaining in regulation. Wagner responded with a 7-1 run capped by a Vinson layup from McLemore, cutting the deficit to only four with four minutes left to play, 48-44.
With just over a minute remaining, the Seahawks cut the lead to two, 51-49, on Mark Porter's made free throws.
After Wagner reeled off seven straight points to take an 11-7 lead, Fairleigh Dickinson responded with a 10-0 run, fueled by five points from Crosariol and a three from Chad Timberlake.
Timberlake grabbed a steal and put it in on the other end to give the Knights their biggest lead of the half, 21-13. Tamien Trent hit a layup with three minutes left in the half to give the Knights another eight-point lead, 27-19.
Matt Vitale hit a three pointer with 44 seconds remaining in the frame to cut the Knights lead down to four entering the break, 28-24.
Crosariol led all scorers entering the half with nine points. The Knights shot 39 percent from the field, against Wagner's 28 percent, but was out-rebounded 25-19 by the Seahawks.
Crosariol shot 7-of-10 from the field and was 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Peterson shot 3-of-7, including hitting 3-of-6 from behind the arc. Klaiber contributed nine points and a team-high eight rebounds. Vinson was 7-for-11 from the floor.
2005 NEC Men's Basketball All-Tournament Team
Blake Hamilton - Monmouth
Mark Porter - Wagner
Andrea Crosariol - Fairleigh Dickinson
Gordon Klaiber - Fairleigh Dickinson
Tamien Trent - Fairleigh Dickinson (MVP)