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Colleges: Another honor for UB's Oats

University at Buffalo coach Nate Oats was named District 14 Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the organization announced Wednesday.

Among the other coaches honored from 25 districts are: John Becker (Vermont) and Kevin Baggett (Rider), who shared the honor for District 1; Tony Bennett (Virginia), Dan Hurley (Rhode Island); Chris Mack (Xavier), Bill Coen (Northeastern), Porter Moser (Loyola-Chicago), Eric Musselman (Nevada), Steve Donahue (Penn), Mike Hopkins (Washington), Rick Barnes (Tennessee).

Oats directed UB to its most successful men’s basketball season ever. Buffalo went 27-9, setting several school records, including most wins and scoring (84.6). Also, the team earned UB’s first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament win, an 89-68 triumph over Pac-12 champion Arizona. The Bulls won their first outright MAC Regular Season Title, earning the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament, then winning that with a victory over No. 2 Toledo.

Under Oats, the Bulls dominated the MAC postseason teams as juniors Nick Perkins and CJ Massinburg were named to the All-MAC first team, while junior Jeremy Harris was named to the second team. Senior Wes Clark earned third team honors and sophomore Davonta Jordan was named to the All-MAC Defensive Team. For the second straight year, Perkins was named the MAC Sixth Man of the Year.

Previously, Oats was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year.

NJCAA basketball

ECC (19-9) vs. Southwestern, Iowa (27-7): After upsetting the 2017 runner-up Louisburg (N.C.) on Tuesday, Erie Community College will take on the defending champion Spartans tonight at 9 in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division II men’s basketball championship in Danville, Ill.

Coach Alex Nwora’s Kats were idle on Wednesday as they awaited the outcome of the first-round game between Southwestern’s Spartans and Dakota County (Minn.). Southwestern took the lead for good with an 11-2 run in the second half and went on to win, 87-72.

The Spartans were led by 5-foot-8 guard Khallid Edwards, who scored 20 points, making 7 of his 9 field goal attempts. Terence Shelby, a 6-2 wing player, had 15 points and 20 rebounds in the victory.

Thomas is one of only three Southwestern players who played in the 77-53 victory over Louisburg in last year’s championship game.

Women’s lacrosse

Siena 12, St. Bonaventure 11: The Bonnies (0-8) came from four goals down to tie the game at 10 before falling to the Saints (4-3) in Loudonville.

Rylee Arnold, Kristine Wallace, Kyra O’Gorman and Ashley Easterday each had two goals for Bona. Alexis Deaken, last year’s Rookie of the Year as a freshman in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, had three goals for Siena, which won its fourth in a row.

The Bonnies will open Atlantic 10 Conference play at Duquesne today.

Swimming & diving

Fredonia State sophomore Christian Krasnek (Springville), earned Honorable Mention All-America stats for his 16th place finish in the 3-meter diving at the NCAA Division III meet in Indianapolis.

Krasnek rallied from 22nd place after five voluntary dives in the preliminaries. It's the 13th year in a row a Fredonia diver, male or female, has earned All-America or honorable mention All-America status.

Connor Mergler of Buffalo State finished 24th in the 50 freestyle in the Division III meet. Mergler (Williamsville North) was fifth in his heat, clocking (20.66) and missed advancing to the top 16 finals by 0.12 seconds.

Mergler will get two more chances at earning All-America honors in the 200 freestyle today and the 100 freestyle on Saturday. He is ranked fourth in the 100.

Change at Houghton

Skip Lord, long-time director of intercollegiate athletics at Houghton College, will take a new role in the college’s advancement office on June 1. He will be in charge of enhancing Houghton’s engagement with alumni and friends who have an affinity for Highlander athletics.

Lord has been involved in athletics at the college as a coach and administrator for more than 30 years. In recent years, he oversaw Houghton’s transition from NAIA membership to NCAA Division III and the Empire 8 Conference and spearheaded a two-year facilities project that included the Kerr-Pegula Field House and baseball and soccer stadiums.

Lord was inducted into the college’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 2012.

The college intends to conduct a national search for a new athletic director this spring.


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