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Top-Seeded Men's Basketball Falls To No. 2 Seed Fairleigh Dickinson, 87-79, In Northeast Conference Championship Game
Staten Island, NY - The No. 1 seeded Wagner men's basketball team's hopes for the program's second-ever Northeast Conference (NEC) title came to an end on Tuesday evening, as the Seahawks fell to the No. 2 seed, Fairleigh Dickinson, 87-79, in front of jam-packed crowd of 2,358, crowd at the Spiro Sports Center. 

By winning the NEC's regular-season title, Wagner (22-10) will now have its sights set on the National Invitational Tournament and will find out its fate on Sunday evening, March 13, during the NIT Selection Show which will be aired at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Fairleigh Dickinson, which improves to 18-14 while capturing the program's fifth NEC Crown, will represent the conference in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. 

Junior guard Michael Carey (Nassau, Bahamas/Lamar Consolidated [San Jacinto]) posted his 15th double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Additionally, the junior guard dished out a career-high five assists in 38 minutes of action. 

Sophomore guard Corey Henson (Upper Marlboro, MD/DeMatha Catholic) tallied a team-leading 24 points, one short of his career high, on 9-of-16 shooting from the field while logging 35 minutes of play.  For Henson, it marks the fifth 20-point performance of his career and second in the last the five games. 

Redshirt senior forward Mike Aaman (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan [University of Rhode Island]) was the third Seahawk in double figures, concluding the championship game with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting while pulling down eight caroms and rejecting two shots in 22 minutes. 

"Tough way for this thing to end - FDU played a great game,"ar e said Wagner fourth-year head coach Bashir Mason. "They're a dangerous team that can really score the ball. They made a lot shots that I though deflated us both defensively and offensively. I'm super proud of my guys, my group. I told these guys if I knew the ending, and we had to go through it all over again, then I would do it with this group. It's a special young group and I'm proud to coach them." 

Earl Potts Jr., who was named 2016 NEC Tournament MVP, and Darian Anderson combined for 55 points on a combined 19-of-35 shooting from the field. Anderson finished with a game-high 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting, which included 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Potts, Jr., chipped in 27 points and a team-best seven rebounds on 11-of-19 shooting including shooting a 50.0 percent clip (4-of-8) from beyond the arc.

"I just want to give credit to Wagner. They've had a tremendous, tremendous year. Twenty-two wins," said Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Greg Herenda. "They're going to go to the NIT. Bashir Mason was the coach of the year and they're just tough They're tough and they're rugged, and they're good, and we had to play really, really well to beat them here. So, I just can't say enough about Wagner's basketball team which makes our championship that much sweeter.

"My team lost 15 games in a row last year. So for all of the young boys and girls, men and women, who are coaching and struggling, you just have to stick with it, play hard and have tremendous belief in yourselves,' Herenda continued. "We were 9-8 on the road overall and we were 8-2 in our conference on the road, which shows just how much character these players have. I can't be happier for Fairleigh Dickinson University, the institution, the administration, our staff. But most of all, our players who deserve everything they got tonight. I'm a very lucky coach."

The Seahawks opened the game on a13-2 run before FDU went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 15-11 on a three-point play by Anderson. The Seahawks scored the next six points to regain a 10-point lead, 21-11, on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Romone Saunders (Temple Hills, MD/Potomac [Mt. Zion Prep]) with 10:13 left. The Knights then went on a 10-0 run late in the half to make it 31-30 on a three by Ghassan Nehme with 1:29 left. The  teams went to the break with the Seahawks clinging to a 35-33 lead.

In the second half, the Knights took a 48-45 lead with 14:20 left on a deep three-pointer from Potts, Jr. The Seahawks cut the deficit to three, (62-59) on a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Aaren Edmead (Deer Park, NY/Deer Park) with 6:41 left to play. FDU held its largest lead of the game at 73-60, as Anderson muscled in two off a layup chance with 3:36 remaining. 

The Seahawks closed the gap to within six, 73-67, with 2:19 showing on the game clock.  Henson was able to steal the ball away from Anderson, which set up a strong, right-handed layup from Carey off a crafty feed from Saunders. 

From that point, the Knights scored 14 of the game's final 26 points en route to the eight-point victory.  

Wagner shot 45.0 percent from the field, despite being held to just 4-of-24 from the outside.  The Seahawks held a 43-32 edge on the boards with FDU capitalizing from long range, knocking down 9-of-19 from three-point land, 6-of-9 coming in the second half alone. 

Follow Wagner Athletics on Facebook (, Twitter (@wagnerathletics), Instagram (@wagnerathletics) and YouTube (@WagnerSeahawks) for all the latest news and updates on the athletic department. Follow Wagner MBasketball on Twitter (@Wagner_MBB) for the latest news and updates on the 2015-16 Wagner Men's Basketball team and head coach Bashir Mason (@BashirMason) for news on the fourth-year head coach. 
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