MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Rochester College wins fifth USCAA national title

| March 2, 2013 | Comments (0)



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UNIONTOWN, Penn.  A storybook season for Rochester College’s men’s basketball season just added another fine chapter Saturday afternoon.

The Warriors captured their fifth national championship in school history, all coming in the past 24 years, with a 70-67 victory over Daemen College at Penn State-Fayette.

The win came in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division I tournament, where legendary small-college coach Garth Pleasant won four titles. This year’s team is coached by Klint Pleasant, who took over last season for his dad.

Lake father, like son.

“I think after losing last season, the guys that we had returning were hungry to get back for another shot. They worked hard to get to this point and made up for last season,” said Pleasant. “They set this as their goal and we able to out and win a national championship.

“My dad had some great teams here over the years and I feel like we’ve been able to maintain that we ate a strong program,” added Klint Pleasant. “We’ve been to the national finals two straight years. This year we were able to hold onto the late lead.”

Rochester College, a national powerhouse since the 1980s on the small college circuit, is now 29-4, which is a new school record for wins. The Warriors finished as the USCAA national runner-up last season and captured their first national title since 2004-05.

Led by the duo of 6-foot-4 Dramel Hogan (Walled Lake Western) and 6-7 transfer Drew Maynard (Lake Orion), the Warriors have not lost since a regular season game on Dec. 8, 2012, against NCAA Division I member Oakland University.

“Dramel Hogan was unbelievable in the tournament and Drew Maynard was a beast on the boards in the tournament,” noted Pleasant, whose team has been ranked No. 1 in the nation all season as the team’s losses have all been against NCAA Division I schools. “I think they were are leaders, but it was a combination of many things that helped us win the national championship. This team has had not just a great work ethic, but an amazing chemistry on the court. They love to play basketball with one another and it showed.

“With all of the successful teams we’ve had here at Rochester College, this is the most wins we’ve ever had in a season. We’re one win away from 30,” noted Pleasant. “This is the first year we’ll also be in the NAIA and we’ll leave Monday for that tournament as we gained a berth there as well. But we’ll celebrate this tonight and start breaking down film for the NAIA tournament.”

Hogan finished with 34 points and seven rebounds, earning both USCAA All-
America honors and Tournament MVP. Fellow USCAA All-American Drew Maynard grabbed game-high 21 rebounds to go along with his 19 points.

Daemen College led 31-28 at the half, only to see Rochester College make a run in the second half. The Wildcats led 40-35 with 16:24 left in the contest, before RC responded with a 17-4 run to go ahead for good at 52-44.

The Warriors, the top seed, built the lead to as many as 15 points before Daemen College staged a late night comeback.

Gerald Beverly’s bucket with 69 seconds left cut the RC lead down to three, before the Warriors kept the Wildcats at bay down the stretch. Daemen College had one last look in the waning seconds, but a three-point attempt Alvin Satram rimmed out with 16 seconds left.

“It was a really close game in the first half. I thought the second half we played great defensively but they were still able to comeback on us,” said Pleasant.  “We held them to 36 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc. We constantly pressure them the whole night. They still made some shots and made it a close game in the end.

“I couldn’t be more prouder of these guys than I am right now,” added Pleasant. “This has been a season I’ll never forget.”

Beverly scored 19 points with 11 rebounds for Daemen College. Jim Regan and Kadeem Johnson both added nine points and Casey Sheehan was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting for the Wildcats.

Stavros Schizas contributed eight points for Rochester College, which held a 40-39 edge on the boards. The Warriors finished 21-for-52 from the floor (40.2 percent) and converted 25-of-38 free throws (65.8 percent).

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