After a blowout win against Swarthmore College in the Centennial Conference championship game, Hopkins advanced on to the NCAA Division-III Men’s Basketball Tournament, which ultimately ended in a heartbreaking loss to Stockton University in the second round.
Hopkins faced the Yeshiva University Maccabees in the first round. Yeshiva was led by star guard Ryan Turell, averaging 27 points per game. The scoring for Hopkins was led by junior guard Carson “LeCarson” James, who scored a career-high 23 points with seven three-pointers, tying a Hopkins record for most three-pointers in an NCAA tournament game.
The game was a gritty defensive affair, but James’ shooting gave Hopkins a 12-point lead with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Turell, however, would not let Yeshiva go down without a fight, heating up from the three-point line and igniting an 11-4 Yeshiva run.
Turell drove the ball into the paint with Yeshiva down two, pulling off a nifty up-and-under move to get a clean look. However, Turell could not get the game-tying floater to drop, allowing junior forward Sidney Thybulle and graduate guard Conner Delaney to ice the game at the free throw line.
The 63-59 win moved Hopkins into the second round of the NCAA tournament. This was the second time in head coach Josh Loeffler’s career that he made the second round of the tournament and only the seventh time in school history.
In the second round, Hopkins faced the Stockton University Ospreys. Stockton jumped out to a big lead early thanks to a 26-7 run. Hopkins clawed their way back, but Stockton refused to let go of a double-digit lead heading into halftime.
Senior forward Tom Quarry and Delaney narrowed the lead with a handful of baskets in the second half. Thybulle’s paint presence changed the game's flow, and Stockton’s big men were no match for him as he gave Hopkins multiple second-chance opportunities with offensive rebounds. Easy buckets from Thybulle and junior guard Lincoln Yeutter allowed the Blue Jays to grab a 58-56 lead late in the fourth quarter.
However, multiple free throws by Stockton would put the game out of reach. Thybulle had 11 rebounds, a game-high, and Quarry was the leading scorer for Hopkins with 15 points. Hopkins played gritty defense all game; Delaney led all players with four steals, and Hopkins had five blocks compared to Stockton’s zero.
Stockton guard DJ Campbell led all scorers with 28 points, shooting 10-12 from the charity stripe. The free throw differential was too much for Hopkins to overcome, with Campbell shooting more free throws than the entire Hopkins team combined. The sheer amount of free throws gifted to Stockton sealed the win and ended the Blue Jays’ run in the NCAA tournament. Hopkins ends their remarkable season with a 23-4 record.