In front of an overcapacity crowd that rocked the MSAC from tip off until the final buzzer, the Ida Crown Aces returned to Tier I for the first time in three years after a hard fought but convincing 59 – 50 win over the Hillel – Miami Hurricanes. Led by Daniel Macks, who led all scorers with twenty two points, the Aces survived a late scare after opening up a fifteen point lead in the second half. The final two minutes saw clutch free throw shooting, allowing ICJA to hold their lead after the Hurricanes cut the fifteen point deficit to just two with thirty seconds left. However, two made free throws from Macks and a forced turnover iced the game and sent the 2008 Sarachek champions into Tier I for the first time since their championship year.
Both teams were cold from three point range, with Ida Crown going 2 – 10 and Hillel – Miami 3 -12. Free throws also proved difficult for both sides as Ida made 61% of their foul shots and Miami 50%. However, it was the turnover statistic that hurt Miami the most, as their 16 turnovers led to over 20 fast break points at the other end.
Ida Crown opened up the game on an 8 – 2 run and this proved to be the difference, as Miami kept pace the rest of the way. Harboring a six point lead heading into the second quarter, the Aces were able to come back from giving up six straight points to head into the locker room up seven. From there, it was even strength for the remainder the game, with the exception of Hillel’s late surge in the final minutes.
Miami was led by Mark Brenner and Kevin Salinas who scored sixteen and fifteen points, respectively.
As usual, Ida Crown brought with them a massive crowd that filled the gym and had the noise level on high from start to finish. Miami had a large crowd of their own, making this the first game of Sarachek 2011 in which the MSAC was standing room only. Ida Crown will now wait to learn its opponent in Tier I. Miami will play a Tier II qualifier tomorrow.