BY JEFF FALK
It was an up-and-down, back-and-forth, roller coaster type of season for the Lebanon Valley College men’s basketball team. But when it mattered most, the Flying Dutchmen produced.
That’s what it takes to realize a goal.
On Friday night at Eastern Connecticut State in Willimantic, Connecticut, LVC’s rewarding campaign came to a close, with an 83-63 loss to number 18 Middlebury, in the first round of the NCAA Division Three tournament. Despite 18 total points from senior center Andy Orr and 14 by Northern Lebanon product and senior guard Sam Light, Lebanon Valley was outscored 43-27 over the second 20 minutes of action.
But to reach the NCAA national postseason, the Flying Dutchmen achieved their preseason dream of winning the Middle Atlantic Conference championship, for the first time in 23 years. LVC had defeated Albright 70-68 in the conference final in Reading six days earlier.
Light was named the MVP of the MAC tournament, thanks in part to a 35-point outburst against Albright, which included seven three-pointers. Ricky Bugg contributed 11 points to the Flying Dutchmen effort.
It was Bugg who hit the most important shot of the game for Lebanon Valley, a three-pointer with ten seconds remaining that provided the decisive points. The Flying Dutchmen trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, but closed the stanza on an 11-2 burst to trim their intermission deficit to 30-27.
LVC, the second-seed in the MAC tournament, had reached the title tilt with a 76-75 overtime victory over Lycoming, at Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium on February 21.
The Flying Dutchmen completed its season with an 18-10 overall mark.