Terriers win season title

St. Francis’s Jalen Cannon, front, and Richmond’s T.J. Cline fight for position during the first half of a first-round National Invitation Tournament college basketball game in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, March 18, 2015.
Associated Press / Skip Rowland

The Terriers, as they are nicknamed, who list only four seniors on their roster, won their first Northeast Conferene title since the winter of 2003. They were able to rest their standout players a little bit for the league tournament which determines who gets that automatic bid into the NCAA tourney.

Having their home court advantage, they won their first two games, but lost their third game at home, against Robert Morris. In that game they bowed out losing 66-63, when Lucky Jones converted on two free throws. Thus, Robert Morris advanced into the more prestigious NCAA Tourney while the Terriers ended up in the National Invitation Tourney.

Thus the season was over for the Terriers from downtown Brooklyn.

However, the thrill of winning their regular season title and advancing to runner-up spot in the tourney playoffs marked a big step in the progress of the program at St. Francis College, Brooklyn. It was a plus to the whole St. Francis program.

They hope that they can keep it up when the fall of 2015 rolls around. But the graduation losses will hurt them especially when it comes to their two best players.

But the thrill of winning the regular season title still stands out both to the players, personnel and fans, who packed the stands for many of their home ones, including the NEC tourney.

Despite not entering the NCAA tourney — the one that they really wanted, the Terriers entered into the NIT, whose semi-finals and finals are at Madison Square Garden.

In the first round of the latter, they travelled to Richmond, where their season ended with an overall record of 23-12, including 15-3 in the Northeast Conference. Their 23 victories turned into a one season high, dating back to the ’53-’54 season. The players felt a little disappointed in the setback to host Richmond.

“We (still) had a great season,” Coach Glen Braicha told his players after the Richmond contest. Briacha was still proud of their effort.

Jalen Cannon’s statistics helped to pave the way for the Terriers. He, surely, will be missed as he graduates this spring. The forward will probably go overseas to continue his basketball competition. His high game this season was 35 points coming against Central Connecticut.

Cannon received many of his passes from guard Brent Jones, who is also graduating, as they both will be truly missed.

“We had a great experience playing here at St. Francis,” Jones said.

Robert Morris guard Marcquise Reed (2) breaks away as St. Francis guard Kevin Douglas (34), forward Jalen Cannon (5), and guard Brent Jones (1) give chase during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Northeast Conference tournament, Tuesday, March 10, 2015, in New York. Roger Morris won, 66-63.
Associated Press / John Minchillo

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