PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the 30th time in his Hall of Fame career, Herb Magee is taking his team to the NCAA Tournament.
The Division II Jefferson (formerly Philadelphia University) Rams will open up play in the tourney on Saturday. The #8 seed in the East Region, Jefferson will take on the top seed Le Moyne in the first round on Saturday in Syracuse, New York.
The Rams earned an automatic bid into the field by winning the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference title. The Rams beat Dominican College for the crown, 59-58. Senior Kaison Randolph was the hero for Jefferson, hitting two free throws with just over three seconds remaining to give them the win.
“If you make shots you win games,” Coach Magee tells KYW Newsradio. “We made enough shots in that game to stay in it, we had a decent lead, they came back on us, they missed a couple and we made a couple. That’s the whole difference in the ball game. Feel very fortunate that the games were played at our place and now it’s on to the NCAA [Tournament]. So we’re looking forward to it.”
Magee now has 1,074 wins in his 51 seasons as the head coach of the Rams and this was the 35th time his squad has won at least 20 games (21-13). This may actually have been one of the most impressive jobs Magee and his staff have done as they overcame the losses of three critical players this season, two to injury and one to a business opportunity.
“With three guys that would’ve played an awful lot of minutes for us out, it took us a while to gel and we did gel,” Magee says. “Then we struggled towards the end and then everything went our way because we got the first-round game in the [conference tournament] at home and then semi-finals and finals were at our place. Feel very fortunate. To grab 21 wins out of that season, we feel is one of our better accomplishments over the years.”
Le Moyne is 24-6 and the champions of the Northeast-10. The Dolphins are coached by Patrick Beilein, the son of Michigan head coach John Beilein.
“It’s going to be a heck of a game,” Magee says. “The kid’s done a great job there. He’s only been there three years and he’s done a tremendous job. He’s got a solid team. He’s got nine seniors.”
Jefferson and Le Moyne will get underway at 5:00pm on Saturday. The winner of this game gets the winner of Bloomfield-St. Thomas Aquinas in the second round on Sunday.