Rams Will Face Hartwick in NCAA First Round

Rams Will Face Hartwick in NCAA First Round

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Indianapolis, Ind. - The NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Committee announced Monday the field of 62 teams for the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship. Farmingdale State will travel to, and play, Hartwick (an at-large team) on Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the NCAA First Round in Oneonta, N.Y. MIT (25-1) will face Skidmore (19-8) in the first game at the site at 5:30 p.m. Winners will play on Saturday, March 3 in the Second Round at 7:30 p.m. for a chance to advance to the Sectionals on March 9-10.

Hartwick is ranked #21 in Division III, holding a 23-3 record, a program high for wins, and is coached by the Empire 8 Coach of the Year, Todd McGuiness. The Hawks fell in the Empire 8 semifinals to #4 seed Ithaca, 79-67, who beat Hartwick twice this season. Hartwick is led by Empire 8 Player of the Year, sophomore forward Jared Suderly (Newport, N.Y./West Canada Valley), who averages 18.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and shoots 86.4 from the free throw line and 54.4 from the floor.

Senior guard Mark Blazek (Erie, Pa./Erie Cathedral Prep) and Long Island native, senior forward Chris Ryder (Port Washington, N.Y./Port Washington) also highlight the squad. Blazek shoots 42.6 from 3-point territory, a team-high, and scores 13.8 points per game. Ryder was selected to the Empire 8 First Team and is averaging 13.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

In the past 7 years, this is the Rams 4th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, with the last trip coming in 2009 when they reached the Elite 8 after an at-large bid. Farmingdale State is led by junior forward AJ Matthews (Brooklyn, N.Y./Van Arsdale), the Skyline Player of the Year. Matthews leads the Nation in both double-doubles (25) and rebounding (16.6), while also scoring 22.4 points and blocking 3.9 shots per game.

Senior guard Joshua Smith (Deer Park, N.Y./Deer Park), a 1st Team All-Skyline selection, is second on the team in scoring with 15.3 points, a 47.2 field goal percentage and 2.3 steals per game. Senior guard Dyshaun Flournoy (Brentwood, N.Y./Brentwood) posts up 13.2 point per game, a 30.2 3-point percentage, and a 71.1 percent free throw. Junior point guard Ryan Davis (Flushing, N.Y./Bayside) leads the team with 5.1 assists per game, 139 total which ranks 2nd All-Time at FSC for assists in a season. Freshman forward Ibrahim Johnson (New York, N.Y./Hostos-Lincoln Academy) rounds out the starting five with 8.7 points, a team-high 63.6 field goal percentage and 6.9 rebounds.

Forty-two conferences have been granted automatic qualification for the 2012 championship.  One independent team (Pool B) and 19 other at-large teams from the remaining independent teams and automatic-qualifying conferences who did not receive their conference automatic qualification (Pool C) were selected by using specific selection criteria approved by the Division III Championships Committee.

Two first-round games will be conducted Thursday, March 1, with the winners advancing to play Saturday, March 3, against teams that received first-round byes.  Fourteen sites will host four teams for first- and second-round competition Friday-Saturday, March 2-3. Second-round winners will advance to one of four sectional-round sites March 9-10. Winners of the four sectional games will advance to the finals March 16 and 17. All games, except the finals, will be played on the campuses of competing institutions. The finals will be conducted at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia.