The wait continues.
St. Francis Brooklyn’s heroic comeback attempt fell short — and with it, the chance of that elusive NCAA tournament bid.
A raucous home crowd of 1,013 watched the top-seeded Terriers cut a 10-point deficit down to one in the final minute, but No. 2 Robert Morris survived with a 66–63 win in the Northeast Conference Championship game on Feb. 10.
St. Francis remains one of only five original Division I programs never to play in an NCAA tournament.
“This atmosphere that we had tonight, no one thought that was possible at St. Francis College,” said Terriers coach Glenn Braica.
With the Terriers trailing 66–63, Tyreek Jewell was fouled in the act of shooting a three-pointer with just 2.4 seconds left in the game. Jewell led St. Francis Brooklyn (23–11) with 19 points, but missed all three free throws, including the last one intentionally.
“If you’re a player you put yourself out there,” Braica said. “And when you put yourself out there, at times you fail. Michael Jordan failed. They all fail. And you learn from it.”
The Terriers had one last chance. Robert Morris’ Lucky Jones missed two free throws but Lowell Ulmer’s buzzer-beater went off the back rim. Rodney Pryor paced Robert Morris with 17 points.
St. Francis Brooklyn guard Brent Jones had a tough night, scoring seven points with five assists but turning the ball over four times. It wasn’t the performance he hoped for in the biggest game of his career.
“I feel awful,” Jones said. “Five assists, four turnovers. As a point guard, senior, I’m not supposed to do that.”
St. Francis didn’t do itself any favors at the free-throw line, shooting a lousy nine of 22. A seven-point lead was erased when Robert Morris hit three consecutive threes.
“It just kind of changed the momentum of the game,” Braica said.
Robert Morris (19-14) also went on a 16–3 run, turning a 44–41 deficit into a 57–47 lead in the second half.
NEC Player of the Year Jalen Cannon was held to four points after the break. He finished with 10 points.
Although the Terriers couldn’t win the conference title and earn the NCAA berth that comes with it, St. Francis Brooklyn will be going to the National Invitational Tournament, the first postseason appearance for the school in 52 years.
“This became a hot ticket, people couldn’t get tickets,” Braica said. “I had guys texting me that they were trying to go to brokers and the brokers obviously didn’t have them. Who ever thought you’d see that on Remsen Street?”