By John Torenli
Downtown’s Jacobs Gymnasium hadn’t hosted a doubleheader sweep in over five years before both the men’s and women’s basketball teams of NYU-Polytechnic delivered victories Tuesday.
After the Lady Jays celebrated Senior Night with a much-needed 47-43 triumph over Sage Colleges, first-year coach Nolan Adams’ men’s squad ended a 25-month losing drought on its home court, beating Sage, 59-39.
Senior center Alex Westphal, the Jays’ dominating 7-footer, scored 16 points and blocked nine shots while reigning Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week Evan Azzam added a game-high 17 points.
NYU-Poly, which ended a 48-game regular-season losing streak earlier this season, improved to 2-18 overall, including 2-13 in Skyline action.
The men’s squad will try to make it two in a row Thursday at Pratt.
“The win felt great, to do it in front of our fans and snap the streak was wonderful,” Adams told the Eagle yesterday. “Our goal this season was to improve and change the culture. We have done that [by] snapping the 48-game losing streak, home losing streak and hopefully we can go on our first winning streak in five years [tonight].
“Ultimately, I’m really happy for the guys,” Adams added. “First off, our upperclassmen who have gone through all the losing and never gave up. And for our freshmen, for coming in and breathing fresh air into our program.”
The Lady Jays kept their playoff hopes alive earlier in the evening behind 13 points and 17 rebounds from senior Margaux Pickell.
At 10-12 overall and 5-6 in the conference, NYU-Poly remains one game out of a Skyline Tournament playoff spot with three games to play. The Lady Jays will travel to Old Westbury on Saturday.
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With this weekend’s Indoor Northeast Conference Championships looming, the LIU-Brooklyn track squad will enter the competition with three weekly award honorees.
The NEC named junior Nickolei Mahlung its men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week, while senior Jessie Gaines took home the women’s version of the honor and Shakia Williams claimed Rookie of the Week accolades.
Contesting a top-tier 60-meter field of 48 entrants at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational last weekend, Mahlung sprinted his way into the final round of 16. His preliminary round time (6.73) was the seventh-fastest amongst the meet’s competitors and ranks first overall on the NEC performance list by 0.09.
Mahlung clocked in at 6.76 during the New Balance finals, claiming 13th place.
Gaines, the three-time NEC Indoor MVP, put up a personal record in the triple jump at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. Gaines topped a field of 27 competitors by bounding 13.14 meters.
Williams turned in her first sub-25 second 200-meter performance and catapulted into the NEC’s Top 3 as a result. The first-year Blackbird clocked in at 24.81, well below the qualifying standard for the ECAC Championships, to score an eighth-place finish.
The women will look to defend their team title this weekend at the NEC Championships in Landover, Md., while the men try to improve on last year’s third-place finish.
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While the New York Giants are parading around the city with the Lombardi Trophy, the LIU-Brooklyn women’s soccer squad got its due at halftime of Monday night’s women’s hoops game against Bryant.
The Blackbirds, who rolled to the NEC title before losing a tough first-round NCAA Tournament game to fifth-ranked Virginia, received medals for helping coach Tracy Bartholomew’s squad to the third league championship in LIU history.
NEC Tournament MVP, goalkeeper Jennifer Bannon, saved the Blackbirds’ dreams of a trip to the NCAAs by stoning Saint Francis (Pa.) during a penalty-kick shootout in the title game on Nov. 6.
LIU eventually fell to Virginia, 2-0, but not before giving the Lady Cavaliers all they could handle.
Senior Ariana Calderon was also honored for becoming the first LIU player to be named NSCAA First Team All-Region and an NSCAA Scholar All-American.