March 2, 2009

Washington & Jefferson Tops Cabrini, 79-67 to Win ECAC South Men's Basketball Championship

Washington & Jefferson Sports Information

Seniors Josip Lucic-Jozak (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) and Wahab Owolabi (Queens Village, N.Y./Randolph Macon Academy) both racked up double-doubles of 21 points and 10 rebounds in their final collegiate game to lead Washington  & Jefferson to a 79-67 victory over top-seeded Cabrini in the championship game of the ECAC Division III South Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Nerney Field House. 

The Presidents (20-10) became just the second team in school history to win 20 games in a season, joining the 1993-94 Presidents, who advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament "Elite Eight". 

In addition, the four-member senior class of Lucic-Jozak, Owolabi, Nathan Burton (Charleston, W.Va./Charleston Catholic) and Derek Syrylo (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) tied the school record for most victories during a four-year span with 58.  The senior members of the 1940, 1941 and 1943 squads also had 58 wins during their careers. 

W&J swept its three road games during the tournament after entering as the No. 6 seed.  The Presidents were making their first appearance in the ECAC Tournament.  Washington & Jefferson dominated Cabrini in rebounding, using a 54-21 advantage, including a 20-6 edge on the offensive end. 

Cabrini (22-8) took a 3-2 lead 47 seconds into the contest on a Ryan Oxley three-pointer, but Owolabi's 49 seconds later put W&J in front for the remainder of the contest. 

The Cavaliers tied the game, 17-17, midway through the half, but W&J scored eight of the next nine points, including six on free throws by Owolabi, to reclaim the lead.  Owolabi's jumper shortly before halftime gave the Presidents a 30-24 cushion after 20 minutes of action. 

Cabrini once again tied the game, 38-38, seven minutes into the second half, but W&J continues to hold a slim lead over the next six minutes.  A 12-3 Presidents' run put the game away and gave Washington & Jefferson 61-51 edge with 4:29 remaining.  Lucic-Jozak and Owolabi scored all 12 points during the game-clinching spurt. 

Lucic-Jozak finished his career as the fourth-leading scorer in W&J history with 1,469 points.  He made 7-of-10 shots from the field and 7-of-9 free throw attempts. 

Owolabi ends his career with 1,067 points and 655 rebounds.  He posted three-straight double-doubles in the ECAC Tournament. 

Junior forward Albert Varacallo (DuBois, Pa./DuBois C.C.) also notched a double-double for the Presidents with 13 points and 11 rebounds.  Sophomore guard Brian Felker (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. 

W&J shot 43 percent overall (23-of-54), including 56 percent in the second half. 

Glenn Washington led four Cavaliers in double figures with 17 points.  Cabrini was limited to 38 percent (23-of-61) shooting, including only 13-of-25 accuracy from the free throw line. 

Washington & Jefferson's second-best record in school history capped the third-straight season with at least 14 victories, the first time the Presidents have ever accomplished that feat. 

2009 ECAC Division III South Men's Basketball Championship

First Round - Wednesday, March 4

No. 8 Penn State-Altoona 73 at No. 1 Cabrini 86  Game Story  Box Score
No. 7 Grove City 59 at No. 2 Catholic 75  Game Story  Box Score
No. 6 Washington & Jefferson 77 at No. 3 Pitt-Bradford 69  Game Story  Box Score
No. 5 Bethany 69 at No. 4 Penn State Behrend 73  Game Story  Box Score

Semifinals - Saturday, March 7 at Cabrini

No.1 Cabrini 72 vs. No. 4 Penn State Behrend 65  Game Story  Box Score
No. 2 Catholic 41 vs. No. 6 Washington & Jefferson 57    Box Score

Championship - Sunday, March 8 at Cabrini

No. 6 Washington & Jefferson 79 vs. No. 1 Cabrini 67  Game Story  Box Score

Complete Bracket