ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A 24-4 scoring run covering the final five minutes of the second half spelled doom for the Nazareth men’s basketball team Saturday as the visitors from UMass.-Dartmouth rallied to take a 78-68 victory over the Golden Flyers on Mike Daley Court at the Kidera Gymnasium. The game was a second-round matchup in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The defeat ended a historic season for the Golden Flyers at 24-5 overall. The Corsairs, who trailed by as many as 12 points with as little as 8 minutes left, improved to 26-4 overall and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. They will play Randolph-Macon next weekend at a site and time to be determined. Randolph-Macon advanced with a 67-51 win over Babson.
For Nazareth Saturday, Zach Stenglein scored 22 points and Stephen Gabel added 20, and Jonathan Park combined 12 points with 14 rebounds and seven blocks.
The game was loaded with waves of scoring runs. Nazareth trailed for most of the first half, then rallied to take the lead in the second half before UMass-Dartmouth closed the game out in decisive fashion.
Nazareth trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, but used an 8-2 scoring run to close within 38-29 at the break. Baskets by Gabel, Kevin Underwood, Brendan Broderick, and Stenglein enabled Nazareth to close the gap.
Nazareth then surged out of the gate in the second half with a 15-1 scoring run that ended with the Golden Flyers in front 44-39 with 16 minutes left. Gabel scored six points during the scoring spree and Park had four, including a dunk.
The Corsairs came back to tie the score with 12:20 left, but Stenglein and Broderick each nailed three-point shots to put Nazareth back in front 53-47 with 10 minutes left. Those baskets triggered a 14-2 scoring that pushed the Golden Flyers to their largest lead of the game, 61-49, with 8:02 to go.
Nazareth went cold thereafter, but the Golden Flyers still led by 11, 65-54, after two free throws by Gabel with 5:46 to play. UMass-Dartmouth controlled the pace from there. Jake Ashworth, who finished with 22 points, and Jackson Zancan were the catalysts of the comeback. Ashworth nailed a pair of three-pointers and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Zancan also hit two three-pointers and two free throws.
UMass-Dartmouth went 28-for-73 (38.4%) from the field overall with 10 three-point baskets, including five for Ashworth and three for Zancan. Nazareth shot 26-for-62 (41.9%) with six three-pointers.
The disappointing loss ended a season in which Nazareth set a school record for wins with 24 and for wins in a row with 17. Grad students Stephen Gabel, Isaac Nelson, Kevin Underwood, and Brendan Broderick closed out honor-laden careers that featured 91 wins, two Empire 8 Conference titles, and two NCAA Tournament appearances. The Golden Flyers’ 78-71 win over Westfield State on Friday marked the team’s first tournament win in 24 years.