function openSlideShow(){ + 58, ‘selectUser’, config=’height=400,width=400,scrollbars=No,resizable=Yes’);} UR vs. Brockport
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BROCKPORT ? SUNY Brockport head coach Nelson Whitmore said in November that his team was better than the UR team that won a national championship in 1990.

Turns out Brockport wasn’t even better than the 2002 UR men’s basketball team. The Yellowjackets may now have a chance to add another national title to the trophy case.

Sophomore center Brian Jones scored 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting to lead the Yellowjackets to a 71-62 victory over Brockport on Saturday in the sectional final at Brockport.

Sophomore center Brian Jones defends the hoop in the second half of UR’s victory over Brockport. Jones, who scored 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting, went on to be named the MVP of the Northeast Sectional Tournament. (Photo by Dan Bock, Campus Times Staff)

“Since the beginning of the year we’ve been hearing that Brockport’s No. 1, so we had a little chip on our shoulder,” Jones said. “We got tired of it and felt we had to shut them up.”

UR (24-4) will play Elizabethtown College (Pa.) in the Final Four on Friday in Salem, Va. The winner of that game will play the winner of the game between Otterbein College (Ohio) and Carthage College (Wisc.) on Saturday for the national championship.

“I still can’t believe it,” junior point guard Jeff Joss said. “Two more games. We have the talent.”

The Yellowjackets proved that they have enough talent against Brockport. UR outplayed and outhustled the Golden Eagles in a game that was seldom in doubt in the second half.

UR’s lead was in double digits from the start of the second half until Mike Masters hit a 3-pointer with 3:18 left to pull Brockport within nine points.

Mike Medbury added another 3-pointer a minute later to cut UR’s lead to 60-54, but that was as close as it would get.

After the teams traded two points, Jones hit a jump shot and junior point guard Tim Sweeney made three free throws to seal the game. Freshman guard Gabe Perez put the final nail in the coffin by just clearing the rim and throwing down a dunk on a fast break with nine seconds left.

“They certainly executed,” Whitemore said. “I think they started the game with more intensity than we did.”

The Yellowjackets used that intensity to jump out to a 13-4 lead 5:31 into the game. Charlie Croff and Bob Skoczylas each hit 3-pointers to get Brockport back within three points.

Sophomore Bekah Jones cheers the men to victory. Jones was one of many UR fans who made the trip to Brockport to cheer on the team. (Photo by Dan Bock, Campus Times Staf)

The team’s battled back and forth for the next 10 minutes, but Brockport’s only lead was for 24 seconds after Alex Smith hit a jumper to give the Golden Eagles a 24-23 lead.

Sweeney and Joss each sank a 3-pointer in the last 1:09 to send UR into the locker room leading 39-29. Jones scored 13 points in the first half for the Yellowjackets, connecting on all six of his shots.

“There’s not much you can say about him,” Medbury said. “He did his job.”

Freshman forward Seth Hauben scored 12 points and led UR with 13 rebounds. Perez added 10 points.

This is UR’s fourth trip to the final four, the third under head coach Mike Neer. The trip to Salem will be a homecoming of sorts for Neer, who grew up in Alexandria and went to school at Washington & Lee University in Lexington.

Neer’s mother and several other family members will be in attendance Friday, and hopefully Saturday.

“I told [the players] the last couple of days I wanted to see my mom,” Neer said. “It will be a nice family reunion and somebody else is paying for it.”

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