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College Round-up: Agbai instrumental in BC win over Providence

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And Agbai led by example. The Molloy alum broke his...

By Dylan Butler

With a first-round Big East tournament bye at stake, Queens Village resident Uka Agbai knew Boston College’s grudge match against rival Providence College Saturday was going to take something special.

And Agbai led by example. The Molloy alum broke his right middle finger contesting a shot by fellow Queens native Karim Shabazz. Agbai had just two points and three rebounds in the opening 20 minutes of Saturday’s game at the Providence Civic Center.

But Agbai didn’t let that stop him. With his finger reset, the 6-foot-8 sophomore warrior went out and led the Eagles with 14 second-half points and grabbed four rebounds, none bigger than his last when he pounced on Romuald Augustin’s fade-away in the closing seconds to clinch BC’s 59-58 win.

The win, coupled with St. John’s 71-55 loss to Villanova, clinched the league’s East Division title, as the Eagles became the first worst-to-first story in conference history. After going 17-40 the last two seasons, BC picked up its 20th win of the year with the one-point victory over the Friars as Al Skinner’s club, ranked 10th in the country, all but locked up an NCAA Tournament bid.

“It means everything. It means anyone can go from last to first, anybody can do it if you believe,” Agbai said. “People doubted us, didn’t think we could get to the NCAAs, said we were lucky, yada, yada, yada. But we didn’t let outside influences affect our family. It’s about us, not them.”

Shabazz, Providence’s 7-foot-2 senior center, had 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.

Cardozo grad Charles Cranford scored a game-high 25 points, grabbed five rebounds and had three steals to lead Northeastern to a 92-77 victory over New Hampshire Sunday in the Huskies’ regular season finale. The 6-foot-4 junior guard leads Northeastern in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per game.

Springfield Gardens native Nashon McPherson scored a game-high 21 points, including 5-for-9 from three-point range, and four steals to lead Western Kentucky to a 92-51 win over Middle Tennessee State Saturday.

LeFrak City native Taliek Brown had 11 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists as the University of Connecticut shocked No. 13 Notre Dame, 75-59, Monday night at the Hartford Civic Center.

On the women’s side, in her final home game, Christ the King grad Kristeena Alexander had 10 assists, seven steals and five points as George Washington defeated the University of Rhode Island, 81-68, Sunday.

Another senior, Fairfield’s Allison Thorne also played her final collegiate home game Sunday. The 6-foot-3 former August Martin standout had four points and four rebounds as the Stags defeated St. Peter’s, 84-80, in overtime.

Thorne’s former Angels teammate Leah Cromer led St. Peter’s with 22 points and 18 rebounds in the loss.

Former Christ the King standout Trish Tubridy, a 6-foot freshman, had 13 points, including 3-for-3 from three-point range in Harvard’s 62-57 loss to Ivy League rival University of Pennsylvania Saturday.

York women earn ECAC bid

York’s best season in six years will continue as the Lady Cardinals garnered the No. 7 seed for the ECAC Metro NY/NJ championship. York (16-7) took on No. 2 Rutgers-Camden (15-9) in a first round game scheduled for Wednesday. The winner faces either third-seeded FDU-Madison (13-10) or Lehman (23-3). It is York’s first post-season appearance since 1994.

York men shocked by CCNY in CUNY semis

The CCNY men’s basketball team pulled off its second straight upset win of the CUNY tournament with a come-from-behind 67-62 win over No. 4 York. The Cardinals missed out on advancing to the CUNY championship game for the first time in seven years.

York (14-12) forced 15 first-half turnovers and on a Jason Daniel three-pointer at the buzzer, the Cardinals went into halftime with a commanding 42-27 lead.

Led by Aki Trent, who scored 17 points, No. 8 CCNY (14-14) opened the second half on a 29-9 run. Trent also drained a jumper with the game tied at 62 late in the second half.

City clinched its storybook tournament two days later with a 77-69 victory over No. 3 College of Staten Island to win its first CUNY crown since 1980 and the NCAA Division III tournament bid that goes with it.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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