The Purchase Panthers men's basketball team, ranked No. 19 in the country, according to D3hoops.com, has now won four of the last five Skyline Conference crowns and back-to-back titles, following a March 1 victory over Mount Saint Mary (100-82). The conference championship victory punched Purchase's automatic bid ticket to the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Alberta Magnus will open tournament play on Friday evening against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) at Purchase at 5:30 p.m. Following the evening game, the Panthers will take on Hartwick in the 8:00 p.m. Friday-night tipoff.
Winning teams on Friday will play-off Saturday, March 8, at 7:00 p.m., for a chance to advance to the NCAA's "Sweet 16."
Tickets on Friday are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens and all students with ID (ticket price includes both games). General admission for Saturday night's matchup will be $6 at the door and $3 for seniors and students with ID. Cash only. Children under two-years-old are free both days. All ticket prices are determined by the NCAA.
No. 19-ranked Panthers come into the matchup at 25-2 on the season. They are led by Skyline Player of the Year Andre Nixon (SR/Harlem, NY) and fellow standouts Joel Neri (JR/Port Chester, NY), Justin Person (JR/Greenburgh, NY), Ryan Lobban (SR/Bronx, NY) and Haughton. Standout reserve Jake Stevens III (SR/Brooklyn, NY) loomed large in the championship game, scoring 17 points and handing out 10 assists.
Panthers' David Haughton (SR/Greenburgh, NY) was named Skyline Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Haughton scored 14 points and grabbed a program-record 26 rebounds on Feb. 27 in the Panthers' 88-73 semifinal win versus Old Westbury. He then scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and added eight boards as Purchase earned a 100-82 victory over Mount Saint Mary on Mar. 1 in the finals.
"This is an exciting and historic time," said Purchase head coach Jeff Charney. "This is the first NCAA game in this portion of the region in a very long time and the first time our program will ever host an NCAA Tournament game. We are hoping that the fans come out and support us. We're looking forward to playing before the home crowd."
-Photo by Imani Humphries