NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Monroe Men's Basketball coach Jeff Brustad added another superlative to what has already been a remarkable year from him and the team after they won the District 3 Championship with a 57-55 victory over Harford CC in a game played in Bel Air, Maryland on Friday.
For Brustad, the 2016-17 season highlights included his 400th win at the College, his tenth Region XV championship, and now his seventh district title and invitation to the national tournament.
The game was close from the beginning, with 12 ties and 10 lead changes before the final buzzer. The largest lead of the half was six points, when Harford's Fighting Owls led 13-7 with 11:50 left. A three-pointer from Clifton Tracey with 1:27 put Monroe up 30-27.
The Mustangs led 32-29 at intermission. A three-pointer from Jarron Chapman put Monroe up four points, barely a minute into the second half. Harford would come back to even the score. Control went back and forth into the final five minutes of action.
Monroe found a chink in the armor with 4:47 left. On the defensive end, a steal from Tyler Ancrum led to a layup from Dani Koljanin that put Monroe up 50-48. The Fighting Owls tied the score at 50-all and then took a five-point lead. The Mustangs held Harford's points at 55 for the rest of the game while adding seven more points themselves. A pair of Chapman free throws made the score 55-52. A three-pointer from Tracey with 2:01 left tied the game at 55-all. Finally, another Chapman bucket with 1:01 on the clock put Monroe ahead to stay, 57-55.
In the win, Koljanin led the way with 15 points and eight rebounds. Tracey shot 5-7 for 14 points, while Ancrum totaled 11 with four steals. The team improved to 23-10 and will soon learn whom they are meeting in the opening round of the NJCAA national tournament, which runs from March 20-25 in Hutchinson, Kansas.