Mar 19, 2024; Dayton, OH, USA; Wagner Seahawks forward Tyje Kelton (4) plays the ball defend by Howard Bison guard Marcus Dockery (0) in the first half at UD Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Wagner Wins First NCAA Tournament Game in Program History

The Wagner Seahawks took down the Howard Bison in the First Four on Tuesday night. The game served as Wagner’s first NCAA Tournament win in program history.

Now, the Seahawks advance as the No. 16 seed in the West Region, and are set to play top-seeded North Carolina on Thursday.

Game Recap

Tahron Allen‘s layup with 16:42 left in the first half put Wagner up 7-6, and the Seahawks failed to relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game. The NEC Tournament champions grew a lead as large as 17 over the course of the first 20 minutes, but Howard was able to take the lead down to 11 heading into the half.

Again, Wagner built its lead up to 17, but this time the Bison strung together a run of their own. Howard cut the lead to seven thanks to its 14-2 run, and stayed right around there heading into the final moments. Wagner looked to have the game wrapped up, but a string of missed shots and turnovers for Howard saw the score at 69-68 with 18 ticks left.

Julian Brown stepped to the charity stripe and hit a pair for Wagner. Needing a miracle, Howard headed down the court and managed to get three potential game-tying 3-pointers up in the final 6 second. However, none of them fell and Wagner escaped into the Round of 64.

Overall, Wagner shot 52.7% overall and 47.1% from 3-point range while holding Howard to just 38.6% from the field.

Donald Copeland and His Seven-Man Rotation

The second-year Wagner Head Coach Donald Copeland spoke about his team’s ability to write their own season. Wagner only had seven players available for conference play due to injuries.

Zaire Williams played just nine games with a torn meniscus while Rahmir Moore was healthy for just three games while dealing with a wrist injury.

This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003 for the Seahawks and just the second trip to the Big Dance in program history.

Leading Players

Melvin Council Jr. paced Wagner with 21 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals. Brown finished with a total of 15 points for the Seahawks.

Seth Towns and Bryce Harris each scored 16 points for Howard. Towns went 3-for-5 on three pointers with 3 assists.

Made for the Moment

With the injuries that Wagner has faced this season, the rotation quickly depleted during Howard’s late-game run. However, this was nothing new Copeland and his team.

Up Next for the Seahawks

Wagner will face a quick turnaround as it prepares to matchup with the West Region No. 1 seed, UNC at 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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