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Saturday, March 15, 2002

Etown Advances to NCAA Division III National Championship Game with 93-83 Overtime Semifinal Win Over Rochester

SALEM, Va. --- Saturday night's NCAA Division III championship semifinal game between the University of Rochester and Elizabethtown was a clash of radically different approaches to basketball, as Rochester had seven players with heights ranging from 6-5 to 6-9, while Etown had just one player standing at 6-6 and no one at 6-5. In the end, Etown's small and speedy style prevailed, as the Blue Jays pulled out a 93-83 overtime win to advance to the national championship game for the first time in the history of the program. Etown (29-2) will now play Otterbein (OH) (29-3) for the NCAA Division III championship Saturday, March 16 at 5:00 p.m. in Salem, Va.

In the evening's first game, Otterbein defeated Carthage 70-66 to advance to the national championship game Saturday. Carthage will play in Saturday's third-place game against Rochester (24-5) at 2:30 p.m.

Elizabethtown forced a turnover on Rochester's first possession and Chad Heller (New Holland, PA/Garden Spot) converted the first Blue Jay shot for a 2-0 lead in the first minute.

Rochester capitalized on several Etown turnovers in the opening minutes to take a 10-8 lead by 15:00. A Brian Loftus (Doylestown, PA/Central Bucks West) layup at 14:44 tied the score 10-10.

Rochester's Matt Conacher (Sydney, Australia/Oak Hill) made a layup at 12:15 to give the Yellow Jackets a 12-10 lead, but Bob Porambo (Bethlehem, PA/Liberty) of Etown followed with a three-pointer, the first of the game, seconds later.

Conacher hit a layup and a free throw at 9:39 to give Rochester a 17-14 lead. Freshman Seth Hauben (Newton, MA/Newton South) scored on a layup and was fouled at 9:06. He made the free throw, giving Rochester a 20-14 lead. At 7:25 Rocky Parise (Harrisburg, PA/Bishop McDevitt) hit a three-pointer, giving Etown a 24-22 lead. By 5:38, Etown extended its lead to 28-22 on a pair of Ian Daecher (Lititz, PA/Warwick) free throws, capping a 14-2 Etown run.

By 4:27, Rochester narrowed the gap to 28-26 on a Brian Jones (Pacifica, CA/Balboa) put-back. The Blue Jays began to pull away again, and by 2:20 a Jon English (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddon Township) layup made the score 34-26 in Etown's favor. Heller sank a pair of foul shots at 1:54, giving Etown its first 10 point lead at 36-26.

Rochester mounted a short comeback in the final minute of the first half, cutting the Blue Jays' lead to 36-31 by halftime. At the half, Rochester's Hauben led all scorers with 15 points on seven-for-12 shooting. English led Etown with 10 points on five-for-seven shooting.

Rochester out-rebounded Elizabethtown 23-9 in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets committed 12 turnovers against seven for Elizabethtown, as the Blue Jay defense kept up intense pressure all half. Etown shot 63.6% (14-for-22) from the field in the first half, while Rochester shot 42.4% (14-for-33) from the field.

By 18:36 in the second half, Rochester tied the score 38-38 on a pair of Hauben free throws. Rochester took a 40-38 lead at 17:50, but a Porambo three-pointer at 16:07 returned a 41-40 lead to Elizabethtown. A Brian Marquette (Lebanon, PA/Cedar Crest) three-pointer at 14:30 gave Etown a 46-40 lead. Porambo scored off a steal seconds later, giving Etown a 48-40 lead.

A Porambo three-pointer at 13:34 gave Etown a 51-42 lead and forced a Rochester time-out. An English layup from Loftus at 9:34 gave Etown a 59-49 lead, as the game had settled into a back-and-forth struggle over the previous several minutes.

At 7:55, Hauben scored a layup for Rochester to cut the Etown lead to 60-54. By 6:07, Rochester cut the Etown lead to 63-58. A Daecher layup at 4:23 boosted Etown's lead to 67-58. Hauben made a layup and was fouled at 4:04 to make the score 67-61 in Etown's favor. Rochester cut the lead to 67-63 by 3:26 and forced an Elizabethtown turnover. Hauben scored on a layup at 3:06 to cut Elizabethtown's lead to 67-65.

Heller made two foul shots at 2:30 to push Etown's lead to 69-65. A Rochester layup seconds later cut the Blue Jay lead to 69-67. Rochester tied the score at 69-69 at 1:21. Parise was fouled in the act of shooting and made both free throws to send the Blue Jays ahead 71-69 with 1:10 to go. Rochester tied the score at 0:52, 71-71, on a put-back.

A Porambo layup at 0:36 returned the lead to Etown again, 73-71. A Rochester turnover at 0:28 and subsequent foul sent Loftus to the free throw line, and he made both shots, giving Etown a 75-71 lead. Hauben scored at 0:19, cutting Etown's lead to 75-73. Rochester fouled Parise at 0:16, and he missed both foul shots.

Rochester then missed a pair of layups before Hauben scored on a layup with four tenths of a second left, sending the game into overtime at 75-75. A three-pointer by Jeff Joss (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) at 4:32 gave Rochester a 78-75 lead, but Porambo hit a three pointer, was fouled, and made his foul shot to give Elizabethtown a 79-78 lead at 4:16.

Hauben scored at 3:41, giving Rochester an 80-79 lead. English made a layup at 3:31 and made a subsequent foul shot to give Etown an 82-80 lead. Hauben made a pair of free throws at 3:12 to tie the score at 82-82. A Marquette layup at 2:53 gave Etown an 84-82 lead.

Daecher made a pair of free throws at 2:26 to give Etown an 86-82 lead. At 1:24, Heller went to the free throw line and made both shots, pushing Etown's lead to 88-82. Makedo Wisseh (Nassau, Bahamas/St. Thomas Aquinas, OH) went to the line for Rochester at 1:04 and made one, cutting Etown's lead to 88-83.

Parise went to the line at 1:03 and made both foul shots, giving Etown a 90-83 lead. Rochester failed to score after the foul shots and fouled Loftus at 48 seconds remaining. Loftus drained both free throws, giving Etown a 92-83 lead.

Etown stole the ball from Rochester seconds later, and Porambo was fouled at 0:34. He made one of his free throws to give Etown a 93-83 lead and the game's outcome was sealed.

Porambo finished the game with 21 points, and English and Heller had 19 and 18 points, respectively. Loftus scored 14 points for the Blue Jays.

Hauben had the game of his life for Rochester, scoring 39 points on 16-for-25 shooting and pulling down 18 rebounds, including 12 offensive boards. He was the only Rochester player to score in double figures.

Etown was out-rebounded by Rochester 50-23 in the game, but Etown shot 59.6% (31-for-52) from the field against 45.3% (34-for-75) for Rochester. Also, Rochester shot just 57.1% (12-for-21) from the free throw line, while Etown shot 74.2% (23-for-31) from the charity stripe.

View the box score.