NEW LONDON, Conn. – Third-seeded Mitchell College never trailed in a 70-49 victory over sixth-seeded Elms College on Tuesday night in the first round of the 2018 New England Collegiate Conference Men's Basketball Championship at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Domenico Santiago led all scorers with 20 points and added nine rebounds and a pair of blocks as the Mariners picked up their first postseason win since 2014. Mitchell (14-12 overall) advances to the semifinals and will play at second-seeded Becker College on Thursday, February 22 at 7 p.m.
Mitchell's starters provided all but six of the team's 70 points on the night. Hasani Williams chipped in 16 points and nine boards while Brayvon Young contributed 14 points. Steffen Brunson finished with 10 points, six rebounds and five steals to round out the leading scorers.
DeAngelo Cousar came off the bench to lead Elms with 16 points. Greg Metelus also finished in double figures with 11 points and six rebounds. The Blazers ended the season with an overall record of 4-22.
Mitchell jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening minute on baskets by Santiago and Brunson. The margin expanded to double digits by the 15:19 mark on a jumper by Alan Morgan and grew to as many as 15 in the half before settling at 36-23 at intermission. Santiago had 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting by the break while Metelus had eight points to lead Elms.
The Blazers got as close as 13 in the second half when a three-point play by Metelus made it 53-40 with 5:38 remaining. However, the Mariners scored on their next six possessions to end any thoughts of a comeback. Young buried a pair of treys during the stretch and also completed an old-fashioned three-point play that made it 68-47 with 1:30 to go.
Mitchell shot 45 percent and forced 20 turnovers in the contest. The Mariners, who held a 22-10 scoring edge in points off turnovers, also limited Elms to just 31 percent shooting.