Men's Basketball: Norwich squares off with Johnson & Wales in GNAC Quarterfinals, Preview

Men's Basketball: Norwich squares off with Johnson & Wales in GNAC Quarterfinals, Preview

NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The Norwich University men's basketball team have earned a spot in the postseason for the first time since the 2013-14 season and are set to square off with the Wildcats of Johnson & Wales University this Tuesday night in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) playoffs. 

The Cadets posted a 10-15 overall record this year with a 7-9 mark within the GNAC, good enough for the 7th seed in the conference. On the other side of the court, the #2 seed Wildcats went 16-9 this year with a dominant 13-3 conference record. 

SCOUTING NORWICH

  • Head Coach Paul Booth leads Norwich into the playoffs, looking for the program's third GNAC crown ('04-'05, '05-'06) during his 25-year tenure at the helm. 
  • A strong group of veterans leads Norwich on the court, including senior Zygimantas Sirvydas (Silale, Lithuania) who averages 10.7 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game while running the Norwich offensive attack from the point guard position
  • Classmate Ryan Booth (Northfield, Vt.) has shown up night in and night out for the Cadets, providing steady on-court leadership and 12.4 points per game while averaging 31.5 minutes per game this year. 
  • Joe Bertrand (Saugus, Mass.) is having a phenomenal season from behind the arc, leading the GNAC with a 50.8% shooting percentage from three-point territory and sitting in the top ten across all of Division III.
  • Freshman Jesse Davis (Woodinville, Wash.) has provided an offensive spark all year, averaging a team-high 13.4 points per contest. 
  • Norwich's offensive success comes from deep, as they lead the conference in three-pointers per game and sit second in the conference in three-point shooting percentage. The Cadets also do a great job of limiting mistakes with the lowest amount of turnovers and personal fouls per game in the GNAC. 

SCOUTING JOHNSON & WALES

  • Head Coach Jamie Benton comes into his 14th season at JWU after leading the Wildcats to a GNAC Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2015-16 and a GNAC Semifinals appearance last season. 
  • Junior Brian Hogan-Gary leads the Wildcats offensively with 17.4 points per game on 53.4% shooting from the field, rebounds per game (8.8) and assists per game (3.9), all good for the team-lead.
  • The Wildcats do a solid job defensively, as they sit first in the conference in both steals per game (8.9) and blocks per game (4.0) while sitting third in points allowed per contest (70.5) this year.

NORWICH vs. JOHNSON & WALES THIS YEAR

  • The two teams met a few weeks ago on February 10 in Andrews Hall, with the Wildcats pulling out a 72-56 victory. 
  • Norwich jumped out to a 10-2 advantage right away, and by halftime had a slim 33-27 advantage over JWU. 
  • The two teams went back and forth throughout the second half before JWU put together a back-breaking 16-3 run late in the game to give themselves all the space they needed to run away with the victory.
  • Mike Hogervorst (Leiden, Netherlands) led the way with 13 points and 9 rebounds while Ryan Booth collected a 12 point, 10 rebound double-double.
  • Brian Hogan-Gary had a big day with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Randall Ferdinand collected 18 points of his own on the day.

ALL-TIME vs. JOHNSON & WALES

  • The two programs have met 30 times over their histories, with JWU holding an 18-12 advantage over the Cadets. 
  • The last playoff matchup between these two came way back in the 2002-03 season when Johnson & Wales defeated the Cadets 74-65 in the GNAC Semifinals. 
  • Last time the Cadets defeated the Wildcats was back in 2010 when they dispatched JWU on January 16 by an 82-73 final score. 

DON'T MISS IT

  • The game is set to tip-off at 7:00 PM at Johnson & Wales, who will be broadcasting the game as well as providing live stats, as both teams fight to keep their season alive.