Sophomore Bradley Riester hit a three pointer with 18 seconds left to push the University of Mary Washington men's basketball team to a 56-54 victory over Hood College in the Capital Athletic Conference semifinals on Thursday night at the Anderson Center. The Eagles improve to 18-8 on the season, and will host third-seeded York College for the CAC Championship on Saturday.
Hood jumped out to an early lead, assuming a 9-2 edge five minutes into the game, and led 11-4 with 13:02 left. From there, UMW went on a 12-0 run to take its first lead at 16-11 with 7:45 remaining. After a pair of Blazer baskets cut the deficit to 16-14, UMW scored seven straight to run the lead to nine, at 23-14. When Hood cut the deficit to seven, Riester hit a three with 42 seconds left to give UMW a 28-18 halftime advantage.
In the second half, UMW upped the lead to 13 at 34-21 with 16:39 left on a dunk by Sean Armstrong. Hood then answered with a 13-1 run to cut the deficit to one at 35-34 with 11:50 to go. The Blazers regained the lead at 43-42 with 6:49 to go on a layup by Ramon Smith. From there, lead changed hands seven times, including three times in the final minute. With UMW leading, 53-52, Hood's Trey Quinn scored on a followup with 27 seconds left to give the Blazers the lead at 54-53. Riester came off a screen on the right baseline and buried the eventual game winner with 18 seconds left. After both teams turned the ball over in the waning seconds, Hood's last-second shot to tie missed.
Mary Washington was led by freshman Sean Armstrong, who scored 21 points in 25 minutes. Riester added 13 with five rebounds as the only other Eagle in double figures. Senior Tad Dickman had a team-high nine rebounds before fouling out. Hood was led by Ramon Smith's 25.
The Eagles shot 32% from the floor (19-59), while Hood shot 33% (20-59). The Blazers went 10-22 from the free throw line, while the Eagles went 12-18.
Mary Washington will host York College in the CAC Championship on Saturday. Game time will be 7:00 p.m. for the men's game.