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Behind a game-high 30 points from MVP Courtney Cubbage, the Gwynedd Mercy University's men's basketball team captured the 2019 Atlantic East Conference Championship with a 75-69 victory over Marymount Saturday afternoon at The Griffin Complex.
Cubbage was 12-of-15 from the floor, adding seven rebounds and a pair of steals. The senior was also a perfect 5-for-5 at the free-throw line.
With the win, the top-seeded Griffins secure the first-ever title in conference history and will now face Plattsburgh State in the first round of the NCAA DII Tournament on Friday, March 1.
Clayton Wolfe added 18 points and nine boards while Rich Dunham kicked in 15 points as GMercyU shot 62% in the second half, while opening the frame on a 12-0 run to erase a two-point halftime deficit.
Xavier Reaves netted 17 points off the bench for the third-seeded Saints. Brandon Rodgers hit four of the team's 10 three-pointers to end with 14 points.
In that first half, the Griffins did not hit a three while shooting just under 42% in the stanza (13-of-31). Both teams kept each other close, with no team leading by more than six and a half that saw eight lead changes. GMercyU worked to get out to a 12-6 advantage, but back-to-back three's from Marymount's Reaves and Roey Stern tied things up with just over 11 minutes to go in the period. Steve Etienne's jumper in the paint with 1:49 helped give Marymount a 33-31 score at the break.
Matt Sommers drained a big three to start the second half and more importantly, ignite a scoring stretch that would keep them in front for the rest of the game. Dunham fed a streaking Cubbage off a steal to give GMercyU its first double-digit lead of the game (51-41) with 14 minutes to go.
The lead grew to as much as 14 twice, the last occasion coming with 3:42 on the clock, but the Saints did not go marching out quietly. Buckets from Reaves and Taiga Walker on consecutive possessions pulled Marymount to 71-64 with 25 seconds to play. Wolfe helped seal the outcome, hitting all four of his attempts at the line as the team was 12-for-16 in the second half and 17-of-21 for the game.