The New England College Men’s Basketball team completed a record setting 2018-19 season, with a program record for wins as they finished 22-4 overall, and the longest winning streak in program history when they won eleven straight games, going a full month without losing. They won the regular season conference championship by four games with a 15-1 record in their first season in the NECC.
The Pilgrims started the season strong by winning their first four games by an average of 37 points. In total, they won their 22 games by average margin of 22.1 points. The team averaged over 88 points per game on the season which was a five point increase over last year and over 12 points more than two seasons ago. Despite losing on a buzzer beating three point shot against Mitchell College in the NECC semi-finals, the Pilgrims still completed an outstanding season.
NEC was led on the court by seniors Jason Jones and Ricky Leonard. Jones came up just short of averaging a double-double on the season with 9.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Leonard was named to the All-NECC first-team after scoring 17.8 points per game to go along with 3.9 rebounds per game.
“Acknowledging their statistical achievements, this only tells a small part of the story as related to their impact as related to our program’s success. Jason Jones and Ricky Leonard epitomize team first leaders,” said head coach Charlie Mason. “Throughout their collegiate careers, throughout their actions, they have put the team first. We believe Greatness is the ability to make others better… by this very definition, Jason and Ricky have consistently been GREAT LEADERS.”
Sophomore Calvin Cheek, who also started in all 26 games, was named the NECC Defensive Player of the Year after he recorded the most steals of any player in the country with 126, and also contributed a team high 151 assists while leading the team in minutes played with 31.3.
Junior Izaiah Winston-Brooks was the team’s leading scorer with over 18 points per game, despite missing eight games during the season. He became only the 18th player in program history to score 1,000 career points when he scored 14 points against Colby Sawyer on December 13th. Freshman Jamal Allen was named the NECC Rookie of the Year after he finished the season averaging 15.1 points per game off the bench, including a January 5th game at Elms College where he scored a career high 37 points, the most any Pilgrim scored in a game this season.
In his 17th season as the head basketball coach at New England College, Charlie Mason lead the Pilgrims to their second straight 20 win season. In doing so, he was named the NECC Coach of the Year. This was Mason’s third such honor, winning the award twice as a member of the North Atlantic Conference in 2015 and 2018.
Next season the Pilgrims will look to build off the success of a record setting 2018-19 season and will be in search of a return trip to the NECC tournament and the second NCAA tournament bid in school history.
“We hope to build off the success of this past year, as well as learn from a season-ending, buzzer beating half-court shot from half-court in the conference tournament semifinals,” said Coach Mason.