On Friday night, the men’s basketball team fell victim to the madness that can only be found in the month of March. Two days into the most exciting month that college basketball has to offer, the Yellowjackets lost a heartbreaker to SUNY Plattsburgh, 61-60, in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs at St. John Fisher College.

The ‘Jackets’ season came crashing down after Plattsburgh guard Anthony Williams sank a 30-foot three-point shot at the buzzer for the win. A 15-point second-half comeback by the Cardinals set the stage for Williams’s miraculous shot.

With 5.4 seconds left in the game, UR sophomore guard Mike Chmielowiec missed the front end of a one-and-one.

With UR ahead, 60-58, Plattsburgh’s Khylan Hunt grabbed the rebound and dished it up to Williams, who was just shy of half court.

After bringing the ball over half court, Williams buried the long trey as the clock expired.

“I looked up and saw there were only two seconds left,” Williams said, “I didn’t want to run into a jump shot. I wanted to take my shot, so I pulled up.” The last shot gave Plattsburgh their only lead of the second half.

With 10:01 to play in the second half, the ‘Jackets were up by 15, 53-38. The game looked all but won for Rochester when they led by 11, 58-47, with 3:36 left.

But the Cardinals put together a quick comeback that can be attributed to Williams and a very tough defensive press.

The press took the ‘Jackets out of their game and the Cardinals capitalized. In the final 6:19, Plattsburgh outscored UR 16-7, of which Williams scored 12. During the span, he had a lay-up, nailed two threes, including the game winner, and was 4-4 from the line.

In the first half, juniors Jon Onyiriuka and Jeff Juron powered the Yellowjackets with 10 and eight points, respectively.

With the score knotted up 23-23, UR closed out the half with a 7-0 run. It came behind a lay-up and free throw from Juron and a couple buckets from Onyiriuka. Rochester led 30-23 at the break.

Coming out of the locker room, the Yellowjackets extended their lead with a 16-7 run during a five-minute escapade. Junior Rob Dominiak’s third three-pointer of the game maxed out UR’s lead, 53-38, with 10:01 remaining.

Onyiriuka led the Yellowjackets in scoring with 15 points and eight rebounds. Juron and junior Uche Ndubizu each finished with 11 points. Dominiak was three of five from beyond the arc for nine points.

Missed free throws have been a prominent theme in Plattsburgh’s recent history. Last year, the Cardinals lost to Hamilton by a point.

“We were down by one with 1.2 seconds left and we were fouled. We missed both free throws,” Plattsburgh head coach Tom Curle said.

This time it was Plattsburgh’s opponent that missed the free throws, and the Cardinals took full advantage.

The Cardinals ended their season on Saturday night with a 95-87 loss to St. John Fisher College.

UR finished their season with a record of 18-8.

All-Association honors were announced last week for the University Athletic Association, and every member of the starting line-up was honored. Balloting of each head coach in the UAA determines those who are honored.

Onyiriuka was named First Team All-UAA. Senior guard Tim Brackney was named Second Team All-UAA.

Three players were named to the Honorable Mention squad: Juron, Ndubizu and Chmielowiec.

The UAA is known as one of the toughest, if not the toughest, conference in the country. The top four teams in the UAA received bids to the NCAA Division III playoffs, proving its competitiveness. Rochester finished tied for third with Brandeis, with a conference record of 9-5.

For Onyiriuka, this is his second consecutive First Team All-UAA honor.

It is the third year in a row that Juron was accorded Honorable Mention status. Chmielowiec, Brackney and Ndubizu were honored for the first time.

Onyiriuka averaged 12.2 points per game in the regular season, hitting 48.5 percent from the floor. He blocked 27 shots and finished the season with a career high 43 steals.

Brackney averaged a career best 10.8 points per game on the season. He hit 41.5 percent from beyond the arc (56 of 135) and shot 80.4 percent from the foul line. He was second on the team in assists with 60 and 22 steals.

Juron led the team in assists with 98, was second in steals with 30 and averaged 8.6 points per game. His field goal percentage was 44.5 percent on the season.

Ndubizu made a team best 58.9 percent from the floor. He averaged 9.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

Chmielowiec had a standout sophomore season as he led the team in scoring with 12.7 points per game. He shot 48.7 percent from the field and made 43.5 percent from outside the arc (37 of 85). He finished with 46 assists and averaged 3.4 rebounds per game. When Rochester won the JP Morgan Chase Tournament in January, Chmielowiec was named MVP.

Kahovec is a member of the class of 2008.

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