St. Mary's City, Md. – Senior captain Nicholas LaGuerre (Baltimore, Md./Lansdowne) dropped a career- and game-best 36 points but the St. Mary's College of Maryland men's basketball team saw their hopes for the program's sixth conference championship title dashed Thursday night.
The top-seeded Seahawks came up on the short end of an 83-69 loss at the hands of fourth-seeded Christopher Newport University in the semifinals of the 2015 Capital Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Championship Tournament.
St. Mary's (20-5), who is ranked sixth in the final edition of the NCAA Middle Atlantic Regional Rankings, now awaits Monday's announcement of the bracket for the 2015 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship Tournament to see if they will receive an at-large bid.
Christopher Newport (20-7) moves on to its second consecutive CAC title game in just its second year of membership in the conference. The Captains will now travel to the Eastern Shore to face second-seeded Salisbury University for the championship.
LaGuerre was 12-of-25 from the field as well as 10-for-14 from the free throw line as he scored more than 50% of the team's points and just one more point than CNU's bench. Junior captain Troy Spurrier (Mt. Airy, Md./Glenelg) was the only Seahawk to finish in double digits with 12 on 5-of-7 shooting. First-year forward Marsalis Hurley (Cheltenham, Md./Frederick Douglass) grabbed a game-best 10 boards.
The Captains never trailed again after guards Justin Hampton (Lorton, Va./South County) and Marcus Carter (Williamsburg, Va./Burton) combined for five points to turn around a three-point deficit into a two-point lead at 6:23. St. Mary's tied up the game for the fifth time on a Spurrier layup at 3:15 but CNU closed out the half on a 10-4 run for a 39-33 advantage.
Carter was on point for Christopher Newport as he led all scorers with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting while the Captains shot nearly 56% (15-of-27), including knocking down eight three-pointers in 14 attempts (57.1%). LaGuerre paced the Seahawks with 13 while Spurrier added 10. As a team, St. Mary's was held scoreless from the perimeter (0-of-6) but overall, they shot 50% (15-of-30) from the field.
CNU stretched its lead to nine at 17:32 before the Seahawks closed the gap to one twice on a pair of free throws by LaGuerre at 6:57 and then again 26 seconds later on another Spurrier layup for a 54-53 Captain lead. St. Mary's would never regain the advantage as Christopher Newport went on a 15-6 run to post a 69-59 lead at 1:55. The Captains owned a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
First-year guard Aaron McFarland (Richmond, Va./Massaponax) came off the bench to lead Captains with 20 points and seven rebounds while Carter finished with 19.
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