February 26, 2013
Dragons open up hosting Elms
The SUNY Cortland men’s basketball team hopes to continue its unbeaten success at home when the NCAA Division III tournament starts up on Saturday.
The Red Dragons are a perfect 12-0 this season at Corey Gymnasium, where they will host Elms College in the opening round at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Cortland (23-4) automatically earned a spot in the 62-team tournament by winning the SUNY Athletic Conference title for the first time since 2000. Cortland defeated Plattsburgh 75-61 at home in the conference title game this past Saturday behind 24 points by senior guard Jeremy Smith.
Making their fifth NCAA appearance and first since 2006, the Red Dragons head into the tournament having won 15 of their last 16 games.
Coach Tom Spanbauer’s Red Dragons advanced to the “Sweet 16” in both 1999 and 2000, lost in the second round in 2006 and fell in the first round in 1997.
Cortland’s 23 victories this season are tied for the third-best total in school history. The Red Dragons finished 24-5 in both 2005-06 and 1999-2000 and were 23-7 in 1998-99.
Cortland and Elms are meeting for the first time.
The Blazers (18-9) out of Chicopee, Mass., won their fourth New England Collegiate Conference title in the last five years with a 91-79 win over Regis College in the conference finals last Saturday. Elms has also won four North Atlantic Conference titles and is making its seventh NCAA tournament appearance.
The Cortland-Elms winner will advance to face the survivor of the first round contest sending Curry (21-7) to Middlebury (22-3). That second round game will be on Saturday, March 9.
SUNYAC runner-up Plattsburgh also earned a berth in the NCAA field, the Cardinals (19-8) to host Husson (20-8) in the first round. Amherst College (25-2), one of two schools receiving first round byes, awaits that winner.
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