NEWTON, Mass. – The Lasell University men's basketball team will make its seventh consecutive trip to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) playoffs, and the 11th in 13 seasons, when the GNAC Tournament gets underway this Tuesday evening, February 25.
The sixth-seeded Lasers will travel to third-seeded Emmanuel College Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal match-up on the Andy Yosinoff Court. The Saints bring a 19-6 overall record to the contest after posting a 7-4 mark in the GNAC, while the Lasers are 9-16 overall after going 6-5 in the GNAC. Lasell finished in a four-way deadlock for fourth place in the GNAC, along with Anna Maria College, Saint Joseph's College (Maine) and Suffolk University.
Tuesday's playoff game will be a rematch of the regular season contest on January 18, which was the GNAC opener for both schools. Sophomore EJ Day (Norwalk, Conn.) hit a baseline jumper with less than two seconds remaining to help the Lasers pull out a 69-68 victory. Lasell had trailed by nine (60-51) with 4:35 remaining.
Day led the Lasers in scoring since becoming eligible after at the mid-season break, averaging 23.9 points per game, including 25.2 in the 11 GNAC contests, second-best in the league. Junior Kevin Vanderhorst (Lawrence, Mass.) contributed 16.1 points and a GNAC second-best 10.5 rebounds per contest, registering 15 double-doubles on the campaign. Junior Kevin Nunez (Dorchester, Mass.) tallied 15.8 points per game, and classmate Jonathan Friberg (North Attleboro, Mass.) was good for 11.0 points and 7.4 boards.
Lasell is 3-1 all-time vs. Emmanuel in the GNAC tournament, posting wins in the 2017 and 2012 quarterfinals as well as a 70-61 victory in the 2008 semifinals en route to the Lasers title run. The Saints win came in the 2009 semifinals in a tight 94-91 decision. Overall, Lasell owns the series lead with a 19-8 record vs. EC including seven straight.
Lasell boasts an 11-9 overall GNAC tourney record, winning their only championship back in 2008 during their first tournament appearance. The Lasers are 8-2 all-time in the GNAC quarterfinals, including a 99-79 setback last season at top-seeded Albertus Magnus College. Emmanuel owns a 10-14 overall record in GNAC tournament play and has never won the GNAC title. The Saints appeared in the GNAC Championship in 2007 and 2009 but fell to Rivier in '07 (59-57) and to Saint Joseph's (Maine) in '09 (74-72, OT).
The other GNAC quarterfinal matchups include #8 Regis College at #1 University of Saint Joseph (Connecticut), #7 Suffolk University at #2 Albertus Magnus College, and #5 Saint Joseph's College (Maine) at #4 Anna Maria College.
Top-seeded Albertus Magnus pulled out an 81-77 victory over seventh-seeded Saint Joseph (Conn.) in last year's title game.
The GNAC semifinal round is set for Thursday, February 27, with the championship game slated for Saturday, February 29, at the site of the highest remaining seed. The GNAC champion receives an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III national championship tournament.
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