Uniontown, PA – Number one seed Berkeley College NY (23-1) claimed the 2016 USCAA Men's Division II title Saturday, defeating #2 Central Penn College (20-8) by a final score of 107-88. Berkeley was led by USCAA Second Team all-American Massiah Merritt, who recorded 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 steals in the title game.
Johnnie Green also had a big day for Berkeley, tallying a double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while Keenan Langston added 15 including a perfect 6 of 6 from the charity stripe.
Central Penn was led by a 25-point effort from Tyree Tucker and a 21-point outing from Andre Batte.
Neither team was able to establish more than a two possession lead through the first five minutes of the game until a Dondre Simmons three-pointer put Berkeley up 15-8 at the 14:17 mark of the first half. Central Penn then went on a 10-3 run to tie the game at 18 with 10:02 left in the half.
Andre Batte and John Starks, Jr., knocked down back-to-back three pointers to give CPC its first lead of the game at the 7:53 mark, 24-20. Central Penn extended that lead to as many as 8 points with 4:38 to go in the half, 33-25.
Berkeley then used an 11-3 run to tie the game at 36 with 29 seconds left. Each team then gave up a free throw before Berkeley's Massiah Merritt hit a buzzer-beating three to take a three-point lead into the half, 40-37.
Coming out of the break, Berkeley extended its lead to 49-39 at the 17:55 mark thanks to a 9-2 run led by Merritt. Berkeley took control over the next several minutes, going up by 17 with 14:14 left in the game.
Central Penn battled back, however, cutting its deficit to just 6 at the 12:38 mark, as an Andre Batte triple made it 63-57. Despite the impressive comeback, the momentum shifted back to Berkeley moments later following a double-technical foul call that saw CPC's Glen Owens disqualified for receiving his second such foul of the contest with 12:32 left in the game.
It remained a 3-4 possession game for the next four minutes of game clock, but Berkeley pulled away over the final 8 minutes of the contest, steadily growing its lead to as many as 26 before reaching a final score of 107-88.
Berkeley out-rebounded Central Penn 46-30 in the game, while also taking advantage of CPC miscues with 31 points off turnovers. The victory marks the second straight Men's Division II Basketball National Championship for Berkeley College-NY. The Knights end the season having won 24 straight games following an opening season loss back on November 13th.
Men's Division II All-Tournament Team
Nick Crawford, Johnson & Wales-NC
Brandon Cunningham, Penn State Fayette
Andre Batte, Central Penn College
Tyree Tucker, Central Penn College
Johnnie Green, Berkeley College-NY
Men's Division II Tournament MVP
Massiah Merritt, Berkeley College-NY