Rams Knock Off Old Westbury; Advance to Skyline Finals

AJ Matthews
AJ Matthews

#4 Farmingdale State - 81, #1 Old Westbury - 69

Old Westbury, N.Y. - The Farmingdale State men's basketball knocked off top-seed Old Westbury (22-4) tonight with an 81-69 victory in the Clark Athletic Center in Old Westbury, N.Y. The fourth-seeded Rams (20-7) advance to the Skyline Championship game on Saturday afternoon, against second-seed Purchase in Purchase, N.Y. at 7:00 p.m.

The Panthers scored the first basket of the game and led by seven points, 12-5, with 12:50 left in the half. A 9-0 run would give Farmingdale State their first lead of the game, 14-12, at the 9:45 mark, sparked by a Christian Nunez (White Plains, N.Y.) three-pointer and capped off by a Ryan Davis (Flushing, N.Y.) three-pointer. The Rams continued to score the rest of the way, increasing the lead to as much as 19 points and leading 36-19 at the halftime break.

Old Westbury struggled in the first, shooting 21-percent from the field and six percent (1-of-17) from long range. Senior forward AJ Matthews (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished the half with a double-double of 18 rebounds and 11 points for Farmingdale State.

In the second half, the Panthers outscored the Rams 12-3 over the first few minutes, cutting the deficit to 39-31 with 15:45 remaining in regulation play. Junior guard Tyrik Tucker (Brooklyn, N.Y.) sank a three to make it 43-35 a minute later, but that would be the closest they would get as the Rams ran away with the conference victory.

Matthews finished with game-highs of 30 points and 25 rebounds (tying his season-high), while Davis scored 18 points, dished off eight assists and grabbed eight rebounds. Freshman guard Wilson Molina totaled 15 points.

This was just the second loss to a conference team this season for Old Westbury, and only the third time they have scored under 70 points. The Panthers were led by Tucker with 16 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Kerel Mitchell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 14 points, senior guard Ty Moore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had 13 points and sophomore forward Josh Hill (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished with 11 points.

Saturday night's game will be the second game of the Skyline Conference Championship double-header at Purchase. On the women's side, #4 Farmingdale State will face #2 Purchase at 4:00 p.m. The winners of Saturday's men's and women's games will receive the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division III Tournament.